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Calico Rock defends Izard County crown with win over Melbourne

Friday, February 2, 2007

The last time they hooked up on the hardwood, top spot in the 1A-2 South was riding on the outcome.

This time, while conference positioning was not an issue, bragging rights sure were.

The last time they hooked up, it took a last-second miracle shot from Hannah Wright for the Calico Rock Lady Pirates to knock off the Melbourne Lady Bearkatz.

This time, there was no miracle shots needed, as the Lady Pirates came out of the gate strong to top Melbourne 44-34 in the senior girls' championship game of the Izard County Invitational Tournament Jan. 27 at the Bluebirds' Nest in Mount Pleasant.

The second-seeded Lady Pirates, winners of last year's Izard County title, built a big lead early and never let top-seeded Melbourne get too close for comfort.

Olivia Morris (14 points) gave the Lady Katz a 2-0 lead with a layup to start the game. As it tuned out, this would also be the only time Melbourne would enjoy the lead on this night.

Calico Rock ripped off the next eight points, getting jumpers from Ashton Lester (15 points), Jessica Sanders (11 points) and Wright (seven points), while Kim Sutterfield (seven points) chipped in with a layup.

Abby Cooper (five points) stopped this run with a free throw, and Autumn Henry (six points) grabbed an offensive rebound and stuck it back to pull Melbourne within three, 8-5.

That's when the Lady Pirates cranked things up again.

Calico Rock put the wraps on the first period with seven unanswered points to move on top 15-5 after one.

The Lady Pirates extended this lead to 21-7 at the 5:40 mark of the second on a 3-ball by Sutterfield.

Melbourne managed to keep things from getting totally out of hand with a 5-0 burst that was capped by a trey from Codi Womack (seven points), but the Lady Pirates still enjoyed a double-digit lead at intermission, 24-13.

Melbourne regrouped a bit in the third and used a couple of big 3-pointers from Womack and Henry to pull within seven points, 30-23, after three.

Buoyed by their performance in the third, the Lady Katz kept chipping away and pulled within four, 30-26, on a putback by Morris at the 6:51 point of the fourth.

But they could just not get any closer than that.

Calico Rock was gold at the charity stripe in the last 36 seconds of play, getting four straight free throws from Sanders, and two more from Wright, as the Lady Pirates held off Melbourne to win 44-34.

Emily Jenkins logged three points for Calico Rock, while Jennifer Tunnicliff posted two.

Tori Rush finished with two points for the Lady Bearkatz.



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