Lady Dawgs off to hot start

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Montevallo Lady Bulldogs dominated defensively last Friday in a 54-27 romp over Jemison High School.

Montevallo held the Lady Panthers to 11 points in the first-half and then stayed just as stingy after the break, giving up just 16 points.

&8220;We knew we would have to get at it defensively,&8221; said head coach Tena Niven. &8220;And defense is really what kept us in the ball game and got us ahead.&8221;

Jemison enjoyed their only lead of the night after a lay-up in the game&8217;s opening minute. After that, Montevallo shut their opponent down.

Behind their unrelenting defense, the Lady Bulldogs lead 12-3 at the end of the first period. The next eight minutes of play were much the same, highlighted by 15 unanswered Montevallo points going into halftime.

The Lady Bulldogs sealed the victory by outscoring the Lady Panthers 19-16 in the slower-paced second half.

Guard Candice Fields, Montevallo&8217;s only senior, had a game-high 19 points in front of the home crowd.

&8220;I don&8217;t think I did well on offense,&8221; said Fields, who averages 16 points an outing. &8220;It was our defense that allowed me to lead in scoring tonight.&8221;

Forward Rachel Willingham and centers Jira King and Desiree Jones each finished with eight points.

The win gives the Lady Bulldogs a 4-0 start.

&8220;This is probably the most talented team I&8217;ve had since I&8217;ve been at Montevallo,&8221; said Niven, now in her fourth year as head coach. &8220;We have a bench &045; I can bring someone out and whoever comes in isn&8217;t really a letdown. We can go full speed the whole game.&8221;

However, Niven admits that her young team (which starts three sophomores) still has many questions to answer. Perhaps the most looming question is what impact the school&8217;s move from Class 4A to 3A will have come region play time.

&8220;Moving to 3A, I&8217;m not sure what to expect,&8221; said Niven. &8220;I still don&8217;t honestly know what we&8217;ve got.&8221;

In other games:

Montevallo 65, Gordo 30: Montevallo jumped out to a 30-12 lead against Gordo at home last Monday. Candice Fields led the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points and seven steals. Alisha Gentry added 8 points and six rebounds, while Jordan Archer had 8 points and four rebounds for Montevallo.

Oak Mountain 39, Thompson 38: Lauren Miller paced the Eagles with 13 points. Nicole Kelley added 8 for Oak Mountain, while Tiffaney McKinney led with six rebounds.

Oak Mountain 48, Mountain Brook: Lauren Miller led Oak Mountain with 16 points. Tiffaney McKinney scored 11 points with eight rebounds and Nicole Kelley added 10 points for the Eagles.

Kingwood 63, Shelby Academy 36:

Kimbrell Lee and Taylor Miller each scored 16 points for the Raiders as Shelby fell to Kingwood at home. Sara Glass and Jesse Sharp each scored 2 points for Shelby.

Bessemer 47, Shelby Academy 18: Kimbrell Lee led the Raiders with 9 points as they fell to Bessemer on the road. Taylor Miller scored 6 points for Shelby in the loss.

Coosa Valley 45, Prattville 21: Kim Rutledge led the Rebels with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Tyler Paris added 13 points and six boards while Mandy Bliss added 12 rebounds for CVA.

Coosa Valley 57, Shelby Academy 43: Kim Rutledge scored a season-high 41 points to go along with 14 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots. Mandy Bliss scored 4 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for CVA.

Coosa Valley 52, Open Door 27: The Rebels got 27 points and 17 rebounds from Kim Rutledge and 5 points and 14 rebounds from Mandy Bliss as Coosa Valley coasted to the win on the road