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The Lady Rockets trailed 25-15 at halftime against Eastern, and the only reason that margin wasn’t larger was because Shelby made 8 of 10 free throws in those 16 minutes.
But the second half was a different story, and the Lady Rockets couldn’t mount a comeback Saturday night, losing, 46-42.
“I think we should have beat them,” senior Dee Dee Davis said. “If we hit our free throws, we beat them by 13. Everybody looks at the last second, but that’s not it.”
With 6 seconds to play and trailing by three points, Eatern was called for an intentional foul that gave Shelby a chance to tie the score.
Shelby trailed by three points with 6 seconds to play.
But Shayla Bolin had hit one of three foul shots, and the ensuing inbounds pass came to Davis, whose 3-point shot was blocked by Eagle Asia Nichols.
But the Lady Rockets’ poor shooting, both from the field (12 of 48) and at the line (12 of 26) was a bigger challenge than the Eagles (8-6). Shelby (5-9) played with as much scrappy intensity and speed as Eastern.
“You just can’t be that inconsistent at the line,” Shelby Coach Phillip Conder said. “We had opportunities to win the game. I can’t fault their effort.”
Much of Shelby’s comeback came from an aggressive half-court trap and full-court press. The Rockets forced nine turnovers in the second half.
“We’ve still got to iron some things out there,” Conder said. “We didn’t cut the baseline and sideline off, either, in the full-court press or half-court trap.”
Though Shelby’s 3-point shooting percentage wasn’t above 30, long shots did get them back intp the game.
Davis hit three 3-pointers in the second half, and Aaliyah Wells and Taylor Shaw each hit one.
“Dee Dee and Taylor have the green light from the 3-point line anytime. They can hit 20 in a row,” Conder said. “When we had them [Eastern] in foul trouble early in the first quarter, we should have attacked.”
But if the open 3-point shot is there, the players can take it, he added.
Though the Lady Rockets will have to chalk this one up to another that got away, Conder said he’s confident that the team is on a solid path with its effort and that better shooting will follow.