Lady Trojans win area title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2005

Times-Journal Sports Writer

For most of the first 16 minutes of Saturday’s game the Meadowview Christian Lady Trojans looked nothing like the team that had won the outright area title.

Joni Lawrence, the Lady Trojans’ usually dependable perimeter shooter, was 0-for-6 from beyond the three-point line. Haley McIntyre, the team’s top scorer, had missed a handful of shots that would normally give her no trouble.

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While McIntyre would eventually come around in the second half, Lawrence’s struggles allowed two others to take center stage. Carol Ann McIntyre and Elyse McIntyre each drained key three-pointers in the second quarter to spark the Lady Trojans to a 50-27 victory over the Abbeville Christian Lady Generals in the girls’ final of the AISA Class 2A, Area 2 East Tournament at Meadowview Christian School.

Meadowview Christian advances to the AISA Class 2A sub-state tournament next Saturday at Faulkner University in Montgomery.

The Lady Trojans (20-6) switched at halftime from a man-to-man defense to a 1-2-2 zone. The move, MCS coach Mike Cassebaum, helped raised the Lady Trojans’ energy level, force turnovers and gave Haley McIntyre the chance to score at will against the Abbeville defense.

“We were going to go to a box-and-one defense,” Cassebaum said, “but we never had to. Defense, defense, defense. That’s what we preach to them here.”

The defensive switch also kept Abbeville off the board for nearly all of the third period. After a baseline lay-up by center Skylar Killebrew narrowed the Lady Trojans’ lead to 21-17, Abbeville failed to score for the remainder of the period.

Meanwhile, MCS showed the skills that got it to the dance. Haley McIntyre’s baseline jumper started a three-point play that upped the margin to 24-17. It also ignited a 17-0 run by the Lady Trojans that continued into the fourth quarter. By the time Haley’s driving baseline lay-up off Carol Ann’s assist gave the Lady Trojans a 38-17 cushion, it had been nearly nine minutes since Abbeville had scored.

The Lady Generals did not dent the scoreboard again until forward Caroline Phillips’ 12-foot jumper from the top of the key made it 38-19 with 6:55 remaining.

“You win with defense,” Cassebaum said. “That’s what we tell these girls and that’s what they know.

“Carol Ann’s going to be a great player,” Cassebaum said of the freshman guard. “We inserted her into the starting lineup right after Christmas and I believe we’ve only lost once since then.”

Although Lawrence struggled from the field for most of the game, she showed some spunk late. While attempting to grab a loose ball along the sidelines in front of the MCS bench, Lawrence was run over by Abbeville forward Whitney Starling. After getting to her feet, Lawrence had to be detained by Haley McIntyre after taking a step toward Starling.

The Abbeville forward was given an intentional foul. Lawrence sank both free throws and the Lady Trojans led, 45-24 with 3:57 to go.

After taking a 9-6 lead through the first period, the Lady Trojans saw their lead grow to six when Carol Ann McIntyre sank one of her two 3-pointers in the period. Abbeville rallied to take a 13-12 lead, but Carol Ann answered with her second three, a long jumper from the right wing that put MCS ahead once again.

With the game tied at 15, Elyse McIntyre took over with two 3-pointers of her own – both from the top of the key – as the Lady Trojans took a 21-15 lead at halftime.