McKenzie in a strange situation, off to its best start in history

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2005

McKenzie girls basketball coach Cindy Lowe has never had a winning basketball team much less a team that was above the .500 mark.

The Lady Tigers have easily surpassed the .500 mark and now stand at 8-2 after cruising past Brantley 67-36 on Tuesday.

&#8220I don't know how to act right now because I've never been in this situation,” Lowe said of her team's quick start to the season.

McKenzie opened the season with a loss to Greenville in the opening round of the Greenville Tip-Off Tournament. Then the Tigers rolled off seven straight victories, including their first win in the school's history over J.F. Shields.

Three days after crushing Goshen at McKenzie, the Lady Tigers had their win streak come to a screeching halt at the hands of the same Lady Eagle team in the opening round of the Southeast Athletic Conference Tournament.

&#8220That game knocked us back into reality,” said McKenzie forward LaSha Pitts. &#8220That game may have helped us from becoming overconfident.”

The Lady Tigers outscored Brantley 31-12 in the second half to come away with the 31-point victory.

Lowe was able to play all of her players and each player scored at least two points in the win. Amber Rudolph paced McKenzie with 19 points, while Carrena Davison had 18.

While Lowe can only smile over an 8-2 record, she said that her team still has room for improvement.

&#8220We still have too many turnovers, but we are getting better,” she said. &#8220We still get frustrated when we are pressed, too.”

After winning seven straight, Lowe said she was concerned that her kids were getting overconfident. That overconfidence reared its head last week against Goshen in Brantley, and the Lady Tigers paid the consequences.

&#8220We just have to take each game one at a time,” said McKenzie guard Akeia Owens. &#8220It's a nice feeling to come out and expect to win each night. We're having fun.”

And with an 8-2 start, it's obvious that a winning season will not be enough for this team.

&#8220We've got some goals that we want to reach yet,” Lady Tiger center Amber Rudolph said. &#8220But we can't reach those goals unless we win our area games.”

So far, McKenzie is 3-0 in the area with key back-to-back area games coming up on Jan. 6-7. The Lady Tigers will play at Kinston on Jan. 6 before playing host to Pleasant Home the next night.

&#8220We'll find out just how good this team is after those two ballgames,” Lowe said.