TUNNEL HILL —
Dalton and Northwest Whitfield’s girls basketball teams both want to play aggressive, up-tempo defense to feed their offense.
Only one team was eating well at the offensive table Friday night.
Dalton senior Maddie Howell scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, while the Lady Bruins were a dismal 2-for-19 shooting from beyond the 3-point line as the Lady Catamounts stunned the home crowd with a 53-34 shellacking of the Lady Bruins.
Howell and senior guard Brooke Thomas combined for more points than the entire Northwest team in the Sub-region 7B-4A victory, and Thomas put the win in perspective.
“One, this is a (sub-region) game so that makes it important, but it is always exciting when Dalton and Northwest play, and we were very fired up and ready to go,” said Thomas, who finished with 14 points. “We are really starting to develop some cohesiveness and finding out what everyone on this team can do, and we have some high expectations for this season.”
Fans’ expectations for an exciting game fizzled quickly.
With neither team particularly sharp — both squads committed 11 turnovers in the first half — Dalton (13-4, 3-0 Sub-region 7B-4A) was at least hitting its open shots. North-west (11-6, 2-1) hit two 3-pointers on nine attempts in the first half, and the Lady Bruins’ shooting didn’t get any better. The Lady Cats didn’t have any shots from the perimeter in the first quarter, but Howell was seemingly connecting on every floater across the lane.
Still, the expected battle — while Northwest led the series 11-6 since 2004-05 coming into Friday’s matchup, many of those Lady Bruins’ wins were hard-earned — looked to be unfolding until the end of the first quarter. Up 16-12, Dalton went on a 10-0 run that stretched across the end of the first quarter and into the second to take a 26-12 lead on a 3-pointer from Howell.
Northwest finally answered on a driving basket by Halle Ford, but back-to-back scores by Thomas stretched the lead to 30-14, and the Lady Bruins — whose top scorer was Autumn Blackwell with 13 points — were no closer than 12 points the rest of the night.
“I am more excited about our defensive effort more than anything else we did tonight,” Dalton coach Jeff McKinney said. “Northwest is a good team, and it was just one of those nights where played really well, and they had a rough night for them. It is one of those things where when we play them again in two weeks, it could easily be the other way around.”
Said Northwest coach Greg Brown, “I sure hope so. First, give all of the credit in the world to Dalton. They played extremely well, and I thought they played a lot harder than we did tonight. We didn’t shoot the ball real well, and offensively we didn’t get into any kind of flow.”
The win gave the Lady Cats an early edge over one of their rivals in the sub-region standings. Now only Dalton and Southeast Whitfield are undefeated in sub-region play after the Lady Raiders beat Heritage-Catoosa in overtime Friday night. Northwest travels to Southeast on Tuesday, while Dalton will play at Southeast next Friday.
• Southeast 69, Heritage-Catoosa 63 (OT): In a game that was tight throughout, Southeast finally wore down the host Lady Generals to remain tied atop the sub-region standings.
After finishing tied at the end of the third quarter 38-38 and 57-57 at the end of regulation, the Lady Raiders outscored Heritage 12-6 in the extra frame of the Sub-region 7B-4A matchup.
“We got the tip in overtime and Megan (Collins) made a layup, so we were up and made enough free throws down the stretch,” first-year Southeast coach Mike Durham said. “We played pretty good defense the entire game, and it gave us a chance to get some shots on the other end.”
Collins led Southeast (10-5, 3-0) with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Tavi Parris finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Cricket Wyatt chipped in 12 points. Junior post Wendy Perez added eight points and 10 rebounds.
“The last two or three games, they have started playing the way we have known they could all along,” Dur-ham said. “We still make mistakes, but they are hustling a lot more, and that is one the things we keep preach-ing on. We did a much better job of boxing out and securing the ball. It was the girls. They made the adjustments.”
• Coahulla Creek 73, Ringgold 40: After going almost a season and a half without a win, the Lady Colts are winning in bunches.
Hannah Locke was one of four players in double figures, leading the way with 22 points as Coahulla Creek won its third in a row.
“The confidence is growing, and I am very proud of them,” Lady Colts coach Ryan Long said. “Our defensive intensity was kicked up a notch. I challenged them to come out tonight with a lot of intensity, and they played very hard and executed.”
Macey Fossett, Sydney Storey and Haley Reece each scored 11 points for Coahulla Creek (3-11, 2-4 Region 5-3A).
• Murray County 57, Chattooga 46: After trailing for the first three quarters of the game, Murray County’s girls dominated the fourth, outscoring Chattooga 23-11 in the quarter.
“They went out there and took it in the fourth,” Murray County coach Michael Hill said. “We were down eight or 10 in the second quarter and made a little run before the end of the half to cut into it, and that kind of sparked us in the second half.”
Caitlyn Sims pulled off the double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while McKenzie Carroll finished with 13 points for Murray County (6-10, 3-3 Region 7-2A).
• North Murray did not report results from Friday’s scheduled varsity game at Gordon Central by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.
• Northwest JV 59, Dalton 34: Karli Williams led all scorers with 15 points and Mary Kate Allen added 11 as the Lady Bruins (10-1) rolled to the win. Dalton’s Molly Lambert led her team with nine.
• Southeast JV 30, Heritage 21: Wyatt scored 10 points in a quarter of action to lead the Lady Raiders (8-1).
• Coahulla Creek JV 51, Ringgold 20: Ashton Patterson scored 15 points to lead the Lady Colts, while Sami Newsom and Jaida Burton scored 13 and 10 points, respectively.