Bulldogs, Lady Bulldogs claim tournament crowns
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
LEPANTO — It was a clean sweep for Earle Junior High at the 2016 2A-3 district tournament last Saturday afternoon. In the opening game, the Lady Bulldogs completed a 18-1 overall season record with a thrilling 55-51 win against Marmaduke. The Junior Lady Bulldogs were led by freshman Roshala Scott’s 32 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Likewise, the junior Bulldogs completed their second district tournament title in three seasons with a 25-1 record. The girls game was tight from the opening tip, despite Earle limiting Marmaduke to a three of 24 showing from the field in the first half. However, the Lady Greyhounds kept their offense afloat with a 14 of 17 success rate from the free throw line and Earle led just 21-20 at halftime. “We knew that they would call the fouls on us, so we wanted them to keep their hands east and west,” said Earle head coach Zena Witherspoon. “They still made some calls, and we missed some shots, too.” The Lady Greyhounds would get within a single point with 2:13 left in regulation when Earle’s Elyisha Brown went coast-to-coast to score on a floater for a three-point advantage. Brown would score seven points for the Lady Bulldogs, while earning an All-District team selection for her efforts. Marmaduke would get a lay-up from Natalie Shelton, who would hit for 23 points on the night, but from there Scott would score Earle’s final six points, including a pair of free throws on an intentional foul to carry Earle home. Earle also got nine points and four rebounds from Tasia Hughley in the win. “Once we finally settled down and played aggressive defense, we were alright,” said Witherspoon. The boys game wasn’t quite as dramatic. The Bulldogs led 18-6 after the first quarter, but Marked Tree made a run to get within 29-23 at halftime. Immediately upon hitting the floor for the second half, Earle hit Marked Tree with a 12-3 run to retake a double-digit lead and lead 46-32 after three quarters. The fourth quarter was all Earle as the Bulldogs held Marked Tree to a single field goal, while forcing four turnovers, in addition to shining the offensive glass with six rebounds off of their own miss to open up what would eventually be the 30-point margin of victory. Earle outrebounded Marked Tree 35-16, including 24 on the offensive glass. “The height differential was something that we knew,” explained Earle head coach Billy Murray. “With the height I have, 6’1, 6’2, 6’3, it’s like it’s a no-brainer. Any coach would say ‘Hey, go in and hit the boards,’” Earle got 19 points and 12 rebounds from Darius Cisero, both of which were game-high totals. Kevon Smith added 12 points, as did LeeAndrew Milow and Donarious Crowder hit for eight of his own.