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January 11, 2014

Lady Bruins take control early in rout of Dalton

Northwest Whitfield High School’s girls are playing the best basketball among schools in Murray and Whitfield counties, but coach Greg Brown hopes that their “best” continues to get better.

On the other end of the floor Friday night were the Dalton Lady Catamounts. With no returning starters on the team and a roster filled with players with very limited varsity experience before the start of the season, the best is certainly yet to come for them.

The opposite ends of the spectrum were on display at The Cats Den as the Lady Bruins held Dalton to just two points through the midpoint of the second quarter on their way to a 73-31 Sub-region 7B-4A victory.

Northwest led 29-2 before Dalton’s Callie Smith scored on a back-door layup with 3:41 left in the second quarter, and Northwest used its pressure defense and fast-paced transition offense to befuddle Dalton throughout the game.

The Lady Bruins (12-3, 2-0) had 11 different scorers, with seniors Halle Ford and Macy Weeks combining to score four more points than the Lady Cats (6-7, 0-2).

“I just thought that we did what we do,” Brown said. “We knew we were going to put pressure on then and hopefully force some turnovers and put them in situations where they were not going to be comfortable. We want to move up and down the floor and score in transition. We did that really well in the first quarter, and I think that took a little of the wind out of their sails.”

Northwest wasted little time in establishing its dominance, forcing seven first-quarter turnovers as Dalton hit just 1 of 9 shots to start the game. The Lady Bruins led 17-2 at the end of the first quarter and kept it up in the second, scoring in transition as well as in the half court — in the paint and from the perimeter. Ford and Mallory Souther spotted up beyond the 3-point line, while Weeks was dominant inside.

By the time Ford made her third 3-pointer of the night at the close of the second quarter, the Lady Bruins were ahead 39-9.

“We knew coming into the game that we were going to get a ton of pressure,” Dalton coach Lacie Coquerille said. “We knew that we couldn’t dribble to the corner and pick up our dribble. We knew that we couldn’t try to make passes over someone 6-foot tall when we are 5-foot-6. But we still made those mistakes.

“It is a learning experience, and winning and losing are not really our main concerns right now,” added Coquerille, a former Lady Cats standout who is in her first season as head coach. “Are we getting better? That is the main question each day.”

Brown echoed those sentiments for his own team.

“We are trying to get better with each game and with each practice,” Brown said. “The kids have really bought into that mentality and that work ethic.”

Ford finished with 18, while Weeks scored 17. Smith led Dalton with eight.

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