Going to the show

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lady Bears making second consecutive trip to regionals

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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ORRVILLE – The notion was simple Thursday night – win and you’re in.

The Keith Lady Bears got into the regional playoffs, now the task is to see if they can do better than last year.

Shauntay Gooden bullied her way through the paint to score a game-high 18 points and lead Keith to a 64-38 win over Pickens County.

“We just came out with the mindset to win and play hard,” Gooden said.

Keith (19-7) led by one point after the end of the first quarter, but speedily widened that gap. Gooden hit a jumper and free throw to start a 9-0 run. That eventually turned into a 19-1 run, and the Bears led 32-11.

During that span, the Tornadoes (8-14) went 1-for-4 from the free-throw line and 0-for-10 from the floor. Latecia Gardner finally got Pickens back into the scoring column by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers, cutting the lead to 32-17.

The difference in the first half was turnovers. Alexus Young picked off three passes to spark Keith’s transition offense. Young scored 14, and Anjelica Dukes scored 12.

Gardner led the Tornadoes with 14 points.

The Bears will open play in the Central Regional tournament at Alabama State University Wednesday at 9 a.m. Their expectation is to do better than the one-and-done performance of last year.

“I’ve been looking at the film from last year’s game, and I’ve looked at everything we as a team could have done better,” said Tommy Tisdale, who is going to regionals for the second time in as many years as Keith’s coach. “I’m going to do all I can to prepare this team. That means we’re going to have some 7 and 8 o’clock practices, but my players don’t know that yet.”

Tisdale is also relaying the urgency of next week to his team.

“I tell the girls now every night is senior night,” said Tisdale. “We want to come out every night and play defense if we play nothing else. This is the best Valentine’s Day gift a coach could ever get.”