Shelby can't topple undefeated Anderson County

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By Laura Clark

In what characterized the Lady Rockets' first-half offense, Leeara Cardwell drove the lane, shook her defender on a bump-and-spin, then missed the open 7-footer.


Shot after shot, wide open or forced in traffic, had the look of Cardwell's: a little backboard, a lot of rim and no net. With poor shooting and inconsistent defense, Shelby County (1-5) couldn't hang with visiting Anderson County, losing, 61-46, Friday night.

The Lady Rockets shot 14 percent from the field in the first half and were outscored 11-2 in the second quarter.

"We just didn't hit anything tonight. It's not our style," Shelby Coach Phillip Conder said. "We couldn't open up the floor for our penetration like we would have liked to."

Anderson County, meanwhile, showed a considerable amount of poise for a squad that only starts two upperclassmen. They followed coach Tony Kays' game plan to contain Dee Dee Davis, Taylor Shaw and Aaliyah Wells.

The Lady Bearcats (4-0) jumped to a 24-9 lead in the first half by swift, controlled ball movement. Shelby County's defense left gaps on the floor and was slow to shift its defense, helping Anderson find wide-open buckets at the weak-side post.

Senior Kara Yeaste led the Bearcats with 17 points. Eighth-grader Makenzie Cann added 14.

"I just thought we came out with a lot of intensity, and our girls followed the game plan well, defensively, and that set the tone," Kays said.

The game's tempo sped up in the second half. Shelby came out with aggression, fighting for rebounds and getting several points off second-shot attempts. Wells made her presence felt on the boards. She grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds.

Shelby still struggled for consistency, often following a quick transition layup with a silly foul on the full-court press. The press didn't force enough turnovers or subsequent points for Shelby.

"We knew Shelby was going to bring the press," Kays said. "We have young ball handlers. For the most part, I thought we made good decisions. It wasn't just one person, it was several players helping to get the ball down the floor."

Late in the third quarter, Shelby cut the lead to 12, as close as the Lady Rockets would come in the second half.

Cardwell drove for a layup, then Shaw stole the ball and was fouled on her layup attempt. She hit the second free throw to make the score 36-24.

Both teams kept up the pace through the fourth quarter, and Shelby began to hit some shots, though each was answered by the Lady Bearcats. Sparked by frustration, Cardwell scored 18 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter, most by driving hard inside.

"It was kind of just what I needed to do," said Cardwell, a sophomore guard. "It's like we were dead -- couldn't say nothing, couldn't move.

"We're not reading each other like we know how. In practice, it's straight. On the court sometimes, it's like we don't know each other."

She added that talking on the court was needed, as well as listening to Conder, who couldn't jar his team to concentrate.

"They're not listening as well as they should be," Conder said. "I'll get their attention. Defensively was where our lack of focus hurt the most. It was lackadaisical."

Box score:

Shelby County 46

Player FG FT Pt

Raisor 3 0-0 6

Davis 1 2-2 4

Shaw 0 1-2 1

Wells 4 4-7 12

Bolin 1 0-0 2

Cardwell 9 0-2 21

Totals 18 10-18 46

Anderson County 61

Player FG FT pt

Stewart 3 1-2 7

Yeaste 6 4-6 17

Whiteside 2 0-0 4

Cann 4 4-4 14

McKee 2 4-9 8

McDowell 2 0-0 4

Brown 3 1-6 7

Totals 22 14-27 61

SC 7 2 15 22 -- 46

AC 13 11 14 23 -- 61

3-point field goals -- SC (0); AC (3) Yeaste, Cann 2