Effingham County High School

Lady Rebels charge past Lady Mustangs

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February 6, 2016

By Patrick Donahue

Katy Fleming implored her team to be more aggressive against the South Effingham defense. When they heeded her advice, coupled with a switch to a man-to-man defense, the Lady Rebels went from the verge of being blown out to taking control. Effingham County upended No. 5-ranked Lady Mustangs 64-60 Friday night in front of a crowd of nearly 2,000 at the ECHS gym. With the win, the Lady Rebels improved to 16-8 overall and 9-4 in the Region 3-AAAAA basketball standings. South Effingham slipped to 21-3 on the season and 10-3 in the region. The Lady Rebels will play Richmond Hill on Monday night in the region tournament, hosted at Camden County High School. A win will put the Lady Rebels in the second round against host Camden, with the winner advancing to the region semifinals and earning a berth in the state playoffs. South Effingham already has secured its state postseason bid and will play Thursday in the region semis. South Effingham led 30-15 when Shae Leverett went coast-to-coast with 2:40 to go in the half. But the Lady Rebels reeled off 11 straight points in just under two minutes to close within four. “When we went man to man and we finally decided to move on offense, Fleming said. “We decided we were going to take it at them instead of standing out there flat-footed. We kept telling them you have to pass and cut. You have to look at the middle. You have to drive. Te’Shauna Johnson’s layup off a Makayla Robinson assist gave Effingham a 36-34 lead at the 5:19 mark of the third, the Lady Rebels’ first lead in nearly 24 minutes. South Effingham, which was just 15 of 30 from the free throw line for the night, missed eight straight foul shots in the second quarter. But the Lady Mustangs’ start to the third quarter also did them no favors. “Foul shots killed us, said Lady Mustangs coach Missy Roddenberry, “but what really killed us were turnovers. You can’t come out in the first three minutes of the third quarter and commit nine turnovers. The whole second half we were recovering from those first three minutes. The teams exchanged the lead three times in a 26-second span late in the third quarter, before Johnson — who buried a long 3-pointer at the end of the first half — nailed another deep shot for a 47-45 lead as the third quarter expired. Johnson led the Lady Rebels with 19 points. “She played a heckuva game, Fleming said. “I was really proud of her stepping up. Cheyenne Boswell’s back-to-back baskets put the Lady Mustangs back in front and triggered a spate of five lead changes in less than 90 seconds. Johnson drilled a 3 off a Makayla Robinson inbounds pass and hit two free throws late to extend the lead again. Robinson added 14 points, and ShaQuira Johnson had 11 points. Leverett paced all scorers with 20 points, and Boswell chipped in 10. While the win doesn’t affect Effingham’s playoff position, it does give the Lady Rebels plenty for the potential games ahead. “It’s lots of confidence and momentum going into the region tournament, Fleming said. “They’re the No.1 team in our subregion. If we can beat them, it should prove we can beat anybody. For more, see Wednesday’s Herald.

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