SPORTS HEADLINES

Basketball: Fitzgerald leads Lady Eagles past Graham

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, December 5, 2017.
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The first quarter was a slow one for the Decatur Lady Eagles on Tuesday night. Held to just six points, Decatur entered the second quarter all square with the Graham Lady Blues.

Then Kylee Fitzgerald put the team on her back.

Scoring a game-high 20 points, Fitzgerald sparked the Lady Eagles, leading Decatur to a 49-28 win over Graham on their home court.

“Honestly, I’m surprised I had 20 points,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve been looking to score a lot more than I have. Last year I wasn’t much of a help [scoring], I was more of a passer. I know I need to be a threat when it comes to bigger games.”

Neither team started the game well, struggling to get anything going offensively. With Graham trying to feed the ball inside to its post players, Decatur quickly began denying entry passes, resulting in turnovers. The Lady Blues were held to 14 points in the second half, going ice cold from the floor.

As the Lady Eagles’ defense starting heating up, so did Fitzgerald. Looking to get out in transition, Decatur started pushing the tempo, resulting in easy baskets around the rim.

“We’ve struggled shooting from the floor all year,” Decatur coach Lindsay Griffin said. “I just kept telling them they’ve got to get the job done on defense … and our offense will come around.”

But just when Graham looked like they would make a run, Fitzgerald took the game over, especially in the second half.  Along with spacing the floor, Fitzgerald knocked down several big shots that kept Graham at bay.

When the Lady Blues packed the paint to take away dribble-drives, Fitzgerald stepped into her shot in rhythm, allowing the Lady Eagles to eventually pull away.

“I need her doing that more often,” Griffin said. “We actually had that conversation this week. I need her to be a scorer. She’s a great passer, but I have to have her be a scorer and look to score, especially in transition. She did a great job of that tonight.”

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