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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Couch top Dawgs again

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FIGHTIN' HARD: Thayer's Kristen Earls (22) battles Couch's Lorra Wicker for a loose ball in the finals of the Lady Dawg Classic Dec. 6. Photo/Mullins
If there's one trait that has marked the run of success that the Couch Lady Indians have had at the Lady Dawg Classic the past few years, it has been their ability to hang onto a lead late in the game. Put it this way -- you might have better luck at pulling a steak bone away from a hungry pit bull than wresting the lead away from the Lady Indians' grasp when crunch time rolls around.

That tenacity, along with the ability to knock down some big charity tosses, paid off once again, as Couch fended off the Thayer Lady Bobcats 39-27 for the 2008 Lady Dawg Classic title Dec. 6 on the campus of Van Buren High School.

The top-seeded Lady Indians held a 27-19 lead heading into the final period, but Thayer ripped off four straight points on two free throws from Micah Stevens (13 points) and a steal and layup by Kaley Hebert, cutting Couch's lead to 27-23.

But that four-point gap was as close as the Lady Bobcats could manage to get.

The Lady Indians spread the court and worked the ball around, content to run time off the clock and shoot either layups or free throws.

Jessica Jones (12 points) broke free for a layup at the 5:04 mark that pushed Couch back on top 29-23. While this proved to be the Lady Indians' last field goal of the game, Couch went 10-for-12 from the free throw stripe the last three minutes of the game to help preserve its lead.

By contrast, second-seeded Thayer logged just three points the last three minutes of the game, although those points did come with plenty of excitement. Lacey Hawkins drilled a big 3-pointer with 1:47 left in the game, and she was also fouled on the shot. Hawkins missed the chance at a rare 4-point play, but her trey did pull the Lady Cats within seven points.

Couch ended the game on a 5-0 run, all from the charity stripe, to win yet another Lady Dawg Classic championship.

The first half saw both teams playing razor-sharp defense, resulting in a low-scoring first two periods of play.

Whitney Mills did come up large for Couch in the game's first eight minutes. With the Lady Indians down 5-2, Mills went on a personal 9-0 run for Couch, complete with back-to-back treys, helping the Lady Indians to an 11-6 advantage. Mills led all scorers with 17 points for the game.

Lauren Hargus banked in a 3-pointer from the right elbow just as the first-period buzzer went off, pulling Thayer within two, down 11-9, after one.

Things really slowed down, scoring-wise, in the second period.

Couch posted just one field goal and a pair of free throws for four points in the frame, while Thayer had two field goals and two free throws for six points in the second.

Kristen Earls (six points) knocked in both of the Lady Cats' buckets in the second, while Mills recorded Couch's hoop in the second. Two free throws from Couch's Lizzie Nessling locked the game at 15-all at intermission.

This tie didn't last long into the third, as the Lady Cats had a couple of quick turnovers that Couch turned into points and a 21-15 lead.

Stevens stopped Couch's 6-0 run with a layup at the 5:05 mark, but Thayer would score just four points in the third as the Lady Indians kept building onto their lead.

Tara Combs finished with six points for Couch, while Lorra Wicker posted two points.

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