SPORTS HEADLINES

Decatur overcomes slow start, beats Big Spring

By Owen Simpson | Published Saturday, February 16, 2019
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Decatur coach Lindsey Griffin used one word to describe the first half of her Lady Eagles’ area round matchup with Big Spring — sloppy.

“We just came out flat in the first quarter. Big Spring was very aggressive and I felt we allowed them to dictate what we were doing,” Griffin said.
The early struggles never rattled the confidence of Decatur senior center Mackenzie Whitaker. She led the way for the Lady Eagles, finishing with 11 rebounds and just one point shy of a double-double as Decatur rolled to a 46-30 victory at Clyde High School in the 4A Region I area game.
“We kind of got a ‘come to Jesus’ moment from coach at halftime, but we needed it,” Whitaker said. “I’m pretty satisfied for sure overall tonight. The team really came together at the end and we’ll keep our head on straight for whatever comes next.”
Decatur (27-8) moves on to play District 8-4A rival Bridgeport in the region quarterfinal with a chance to reach the region tournament on the line. It will be their third meeting. In the first matchup, Decatur came out on top 43-37, but lost the second game two weeks ago 38-35.
Decatur had to shake off a slow start Friday to reach the third round. The Lady Eagles trailed 4-3 after the first quarter due to turnovers and shooting woes.
The scoring issues continued in the second quarter for the Lady Eagles. Decatur made just four field goals in the first half. But Katie Hale’s two 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the frame gave the Lady Eagles’ the lead. They rode the momentum into halftime with a 12-8 lead.
Griffin settled her team down at the break. The Lady Eagles responded by going 7-for-11 from the field in the third quarter. Decatur outscored Big Spring 34-12 in the second half.
“The second half, we didn’t let them push us around or control the pace, and I think that was the difference for us,” Griffin said.
Decatur also turned up the heat defensively. The Lady Eagles forced 12 second-half turnovers, including eight in the third quarter.
Hale, Whitaker and junior guard Kylee Fitzgerald all scored nine points.

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