Shelby County girls now 11-0

Published 12:31 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter

ALABASTER – The Shelby County Wildcats ran up against a tough test in the Thompson Warriors on the road, but continued their winning ways with tough defense and timely scoring in a 50-46 win Tuesday, Dec 18, against 7A competition.

That’s just been a part of the special run for the Wildcats early in the season, who since that win against the Warriors have reeled off two more wins in a row to pull their record to 11-0 overall and 2-0 in area play.

Shelby County’s next two wins of the week came against Munford by a dominant final of 69-30 and Talladega County by a final of 52-42.

In the game to start the week against Thompson, neither team led by more than six through three quarters and the Wildcats had to withstand a furious fourth-quarter rally from the Warriors (6-8).

“They fought hard, they made it a battle” said Wildcats’ head coach Ashley Phillips of Thompson. “When you’re at home you do tend to player better most times and this was a big road win for us because they’ve got a good team.”

The teams see-sawed back and forth the entire first half with four ties and three lead changes in the first quarter alone as Shelby County led 12-10 after the first horn.

Brooklyn Oden took over for Thompson in the second quarter scoring 10 of the team’s 14 points slashing to the rim time and again. Second chance points were key for the Wildcats as they kept pace with 11 offensive rebounds in the first half. Several of those came off missed layups, but after a last second three from Aliyah Cotton, Shelby County maintained their slim lead at halftime, 25-24.

“In the first half, we missed some put backs that we should’ve made, I think that’s what would’ve stretched it early in the half,” Phillips said. “But when you miss layups or anything easy it keeps the game close.”

Thompson got scores from four different players, but with Oden stifled temporarily the Wildcats seized the momentum again late in the third quarter and took the lead back for the final time with a 7-0 run heading into the final period.

Oden put on another dominant display in the fourth quarter with a game-high 12 points, but the rest of the Warriors struggled to find their spot.

Shelby County’s 2-3 zone defense clogged the paint, and Thompson didn’t register a 3-pointer all night until Oden’s final score of the game slashed the Wildcats’ lead to 49-46.

Ashley Phillips’ message to his players was simple: “Keep grinding, just keep grinding,” he said. “You can always do one more is what I always tell them, even when you’re tired. Because when you’re tired you usually lose your mind when you play.”

Shelby County only hit two field goals down the stretch, but made up for it at the free throw line going 6-8. Maggie West, Madison Purcell and Cotton all hit double figures for the Wildcats, while Oden finished with 28 points for Thompson.