The first time the Lady Tigers took on the Lady Bulldogs of Beach High, the Hinesville girls came out on top on their home turf, winning 57-39. On Tuesday night, the Bradwell girls headed to Savannah expecting the Bulldogs to avenge the loss.
Instead, the defense put in place by Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker held Beach to a mere 4 points in the first quarter. Bradwell ended the game 1 point better than their first outing, winning 58-39. The Lady Tigers are 21-1 overall and 11-0 in their region.
The Bulldogs didn’t take the loss lying down, however. Knowing Lady Tiger Mariah Maternik would look for Seandre Lee inside, Beach players positioned themselves to block the passes, holding Lee to 6 points — her lowest per game to date. All 6 came in the second half. But by concentrating on Lee, the Bulldogs left Maternik and LaNiqua Fowler open.
Maternik scored 10 of her 19 points in the first half and Fowler pulled up double digits, scoring 14 in the game.Baker said she is continuously pleased with the progress of her defense. "Our man defense has come a long way," she said.
The coach said the one-two punch of an improved defense and a higher intensity level of play in the first half of their games helps her team stay a step ahead of their opponents. Fowler, whose shooting ability rounds out the offense, has stayed under the radar against most opponents this season.
"We are definitely a much better team offensively because she’s a scorer," Baker said of Fowler. "She can dribble, she can penetrate. She can shoot the set shot so she has really helped us offensively, especially when people start keying in on Mariah and Seandre."
"We just didn’t play," Lady Bulldog coach Ronald Booker said. "We had several opportunities. We just didn’t put down a shot."
He said his girls allowed too many turnovers. The Lady Tigers did send Booker’s team to the line several times where they hit 12 of their 39 game points.
Booker continued, "It’s hard to beat a team with so many complete parts. They have pretty close to a complete team."
The Hinesville girls host Windsor Forest tonight, but the Tigers likely haven’t seen the last of Beach. It’s possible the teams will meet again as they move closer to the region title.
"The season is not over," Booker said. "There will be another opportunity and we are going to try our best to be there if the opportunity presents itself and hopefully give them a better game next time."
Lady Tigers 14 30 43-58
Lady ’Dogs 4 16 26-39
Tiger top scorers
Mariah Maternik: 19
LaNiqua Fowler: 14