McKenzie clinches at least share of area title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2006

It's all over but the waiting for McKenzie girls basketball coach Cindy Lowe.

The Lady Tigers closed out their area schedule Thursday night with a 55-38 drubbing of Kinston in McKenzie to finish 6-2 in area play to claim at least a share of the area title.

Now all is left to do is sit and wait.

McKenzie (13-7) still has four more games, but all are non-area matchups, while fellow area opponents like J.F. Shields, Kinston and Pleasant Home have up to three more area games left to play.

While Lowe waits to find out who will be crowned the regular-season area champ, there's no question that the Lady Tigers will have to travel to play in the area tournament. Even if McKenzie is the top seed in the tournament, it will not be able to host the tournament because of the lack of seating necessary as laid out by the rules of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

&#8220So right now, we're just waiting to see where we'll be seeded,” Lowe said. &#8220I guess for the next few games I'll be a coach and a cheerleader.”

Should J.F. Shields win out its three remaining games, it would finish in the tie with McKenzie for the top spot in the area. Then the top seed would be determined by a coin flip, Lowe said.

&#8220We'll just use these next four games to practice for the tournament,” Lowe said. &#8220We need to keep winning and not get lazy or play sloppy.”

McKenzie opened Thursday's game a little slow, but picked up speed after a sluggish opening period. The Lady Tigers turned an 8-5 advantage at the end of the first period into a 24-17 lead by intermission.

And the momentum just snowballed from there.

McKenzie extended its lead to double digits in the third period to take a 17-point advantage into the final eight minutes.

Carrena Davison led the Lady Tigers with a game-high 17 points. Amber Rudolph added nine, while Akeia Owens and Candis Davison chipped in eight points each.

Even with a share of the area championship at hand, Lowe said there are still some more things that her team needs to work on before the area tournament in three weeks.

&#8220In addition to building more confidence by winning, we need to work on our man offense,” she said. &#8220We just seem to get that deer in the headlights look when we have a man-to-man defense thrown at us.”

Kaliegh Sauders led Kinston with 14 points, and Brittany Hunko added 11.