By SCOTTY NICHOLS
FULTON – Smothering IAHS defense was the story of the night in the girls’ version of last Friday night’s battle with division 1-4A rival Amory.
The Lady Indians have made a reputation over the years for imposing an aggressive full-court press on opposing teams and it paid off yet again, paving the way to a 38-point victory over the Lady Panthers.
Amory opened the game with an easy layup off the opening tip and hit an elbow jumper, with a Haley Gates three sandwiched in between, to take a 4-3 lead on their first two possessions. That would be the last lead that the Lady Panthers would even sniff for the rest of the night.
Gates paced the IAHS offense early, connecting on four 3-pointers for 12 first half points.
Gates provided the hot hand, while the frontcourt trio of Laura Coker, Aaliyah Marshall and Jamiya Hill pressured the Lady Panthers into several bad decisions and capitalized with easy buckets off turnovers.
Kim Mallory and Quay Dunn dominated the paint and the boards, often limiting Amory to only one shot when they were able to escape the press.
The score was 7-7 midway through the first quarter, but the Lady Indians blew the doors off with a 21-1 run that lasted until midway through the second quarter to take a 28-8 lead.
IAHS never looked back, as they cruised to a 63-25 win over the Lady Panthers.
Gates led the Lady Indians with 17 points, while Mallory contributed 13. Marshall added 8 points as IAHS improved to 14-5 overall, and 7-1 inside division play.
(B) Amory 65, IAHS 53
The Amory boys returned the favor, as they applied the same type of aggressive defense that the IAHS girls did in the previous game.
The Indians didn’t let the game get out of hand because of the pressure, but the Panthers escaped with a 12-point win.
The fouls stat stood out as Amory shot 22 free throws opposed to only 14 by the Indians. Incredibly, IAHS constantly led in team fouls throughout the night.
Even though the Panthers played a faster-paced, extremely aggressive man defense, they were only called for a little more than half the fouls called against the Indians.
Senior Makel Hamer played a great all-around game, often providing the spark that kept the Indians in the game rather than letting it get out of hand.
Hamer provided IAHS with several second chances with offensive rebounds, and scored timely buckets to keep Amory from getting a head of steam.
Cameron Shumpert was also a key cog for the Indians, contributing points, rebounds and blocking a couple of shots.
The Indians found themselves down 37-31 early in the third quarter, but could never pull any closer, as Amory left Fulton with a 65-53 victory.
Hamer led the Indians with 18 points, while also handing out 8 assists. Shumpert finished with 14 points.