Fight With the Phoenix: Pickens Spars With Sonoraville

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The Pickens Dragons and Dragonettes traveled to Calhoun on Tuesday to take on the Sonoraville Lady Phoenix and Phoenix and had mixed success, as the Dragonettes fought hard but ultimately came out on the losing end and the Dragons took advantage of a great third quarter to pick up their first victory since the second day of the ETC Tip-Off Tournament. The opening game of the evening pitted the Dragonettes against a Lady Phoenix squad that quickly proved to be a formidable opponent.

Sonoraville’s suffocating press defense gave the Dragonettes fits in throughout the game, especially in the opening quarter, resulting in the Lady Phoenix leading 18-13 at its end.

Pickens proved a bit more successful against Sonoraville in the second quarter, closing within four points of the lead thanks to great ball movement on offense. Unfortunately for the Dragonettes, the Lady Phoenix came back to life and patted their lead to 36-28 going into the intermission.

Trouble with rebounding reared its ugly head for the Dragonettes in the second half of play, as Sonoraville’s ability to match Pickens as far as height was concerned helped the Lady Phoenix get multiple shots drive after drive.

A strong third quarter by the Lady Phoenix gave the home team a 49-37 lead, leaving the Dragonettes in need of many points in a hurry. While Pickens was able to put up eighteen points in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough to make a comeback, leading to the Lady Phoenix winning the game 66-55.

Danielle Goss gave it her all for the Dragonettes on this night, scoring thirty points and coming down with seven rebounds in the contest. Following close behind was teammate Sarah Smith, who had sixteen points and four rebounds, respectively.

Haley Kalson and Olivia LeMieux had no issues dishing out the ball in the game, finishing with a combined total of eleven assists.

The Dragonettes’ issues with rebounding are glaringly obvious in the stat book, as the team combined for twenty-one rebounds.

The Dragons then hit the court to take on the Phoenix in a game that some could argue was the best that head coach Brad Steinhauer’s squad has had all season.

The Dragons’ play in the first quarter showed the Pickens faithful in the gym that the team came ready to play, as the team put up seventeen points in the opening quarter to give themselves a 17-15 lead going into the second quarter.

Things began to look bad for Pickens in the second quarter thanks to a hot streak by the Phoenix, which helped the home squad go into the locker room with a 38-34 lead.

Although the Phoenix may have had an enjoyable second quarter, the third quarter would prove to be even better for the Dragons. Pickens truly had the hot hand in this period, putting up nineteen points to cut the Phoenix’s lead to 54-53.

The Dragons took the momentum from the third quarter and ran with it in the fourth, and a shot by Tyjai Howell with 1:50 remaining put the team up 72-65.

As the seconds wound down off the scoreboard, the Pickens crowd began to chant “just like football” to their Sonoraville counterparts, referencing the Dragons’ football team’s 50-21 season-opening victory over the Phoenix.

When it was all said and done, the Dragons walked away with an impressive 75-67 victory.

Shannon Brooks was not going to be stopped by the Phoenix on this night, finishing the game with a total of thirty-two points and eleven rebounds.

Tyjai Howell and Wesley Sparks did their part in helping Pickens prevail, combining for eighteen points and thirteen rebounds.

Chris Leicht played through a painful dislocated finger in the first quarter of play and had a fine outing, finishing with three points, four rebounds, and a team-high eight assists.

The results of Tuesday’s games put the Dragonettes at 3-3 and the Dragons at 2-4 on the young season. The next games for the boys’ and girls’ teams come on Friday, when they travel to Whitfield County to take on the Dalton Catamounts and Lady Catamounts.

The meeting between the Dragonettes and the Lady Catamounts is scheduled to begin at 7:00 with the boys’ game following its conclusion.

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