November 20, 2012

Thomas gets job done as Lady Cats finish Invitational 3-0

Brooke Thomas did more than enough to fill a scoring gap for Dalton High’s girls basketball team Monday night.

The senior point guard finished with a game-high 20 points to lead host Dalton to a 59-42 victory against North Murray in the final game of the Lady Cats Invitational as Dalton finished 3-0 in its season-opening round-robin tournament for the second straight year.

North Murray went 2-1 in the event. Martin Luther King Jr. defeated Christian Heritage 60-39 in the night’s third-place game.

The Lady Catamounts’ Maddie Howell had 16 and 14 points through the first two games of the tournament — a 71-20 victory against Christian Heritage on Thursday and a 58-32 victory against MLK Jr. on Saturday — but was held to 10 against North Murray. Teammate Hannah Cox had eight points after having 12 and 10 in the first two games.

“I knew if Maddie was off, then it’s my time to step up,” Thomas said. “She’s our scorer. ... Hannah, early on, wasn’t hitting. So I had to step up and kind of direct them and keep them in it.”

So Thomas became the Lady Cats’ premier scoring threat, often beating Lady Mountaineers defenders off the dribble on the perimeter and finding herself open for mid-range jump shots. She scored 14 from the field and went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.

“It’s the way they played her,” Dalton coach Jeff McKinney said. “They guarded Brooke close, which allowed her to get to the goal. She was making her shots tonight. They were leaving her open from about 10 or 15 feet, and she is deadly from there.”

Dalton scored the first six points of the game and led 13-5 after the first quarter. The lead stretched to 26-16 at halftime and 39-26 after three quarters.

North Murray could not establish its interior offense until the third quarter, which was too delayed for coach Keith Robinette’s liking.

“Their game plan definitely was to take our inside game away,” said Robinette, whose team was playing in the event for the first time. “I don’t think our posts wanted the ball very much in the first half just by their effort in posting up.”

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