CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. -- A little rest did the Darlington Lady Tigers a lot of good. Off for a week from competition, the second-ranked Class A basketball team in Georgia used renewed energy to stymie what had been a hot-shooting Gordon Lee squad in a 54-38 win.
Darlington (18-2, 5-0) entered the game with the same defensive game plan most teams have when facing Gordon Lee (19-3, 3-2): Stop Kassidy Blevins. The junior guard went off for 41 points in the Lady Trojans' last game, but she was the focus of multiple defenders Friday and shot only 6-of-21 from the field.
"We saw the Bremen game when she went for 40, but we were already well aware of how smooth she is and how she can get points in a hurry," Darlington coach Josh Hembree said. "We definitely wanted to contain her, but it didn't work so well early. However, I think the constant pressure might have worn her down late."
Blevins scored seven of her team-high 13 points in the opening period, then got the first basket of the second to open an 11-8 Gordon Lee lead. The Lady Tigers, though, scored the next 15 points, six coming from junior post Tiera Stewart, who was a wizard in the lane and finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds. When she wasn't scoring she was getting offensive rebounds or passing out to open players.
"Offensively, I don't think we executed all that well, but the ball always ended up in T's hands and something good would happen," Hembree said.
The cold-shooting Lady Trojans, who trailed 28-15 at halftime, had four consecutive possessions with a chance to cut the lead under 10 in the third period, but they came away empty each time. The closest they came was 11 the rest of the way.
"They're the second-ranked team in the state and they proved it tonight," Gordon Lee coach Lester Galyon said. "We didn't shoot well, but they had a lot to do with that. They did a great job defensively on Kassidy. They had two on her all the time and a third lurking. And we had some luck with our half-court trap at their place, but tonight they shredded it."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...