Even with all these factors, one thing is necessary for success on the court, a team that executes the game plan with poise and precision and this is exactly what happened Saturday night in the first round of the James C. Haile Invitational at Middle Tennessee Christian School in Murfreesboro.
"We were a very aggressive, focused basketball team," McMasters said after the game, and we attacked all night and completely took them out of their game plan."
The CMS Lady Dawgs blitzkrieged a talented Smith County Owlette team and left them shell-shocked and battered in the first six minutes of the contest. McMaster's squad dismantled the Owlettes with a smothering attacking defense that took the Carthage squad by complete surprise and shut them out 21-0 in the first quarter.
The first quarter blanking was a total team effort with outstanding guard play from Amber Reeves and McKenzie Hopkins and the trio of Nina Endsley, Lindsey Dalton, and Haley Fagan completely dominating the low post. Reeves and Hopkins were dead-eyed from the outside and stuck like glue to the Owlettes guards, while the trio in the paint worked in unison to defend their territory and passed and scored at will.
Any hope of a comeback was squelched in the second quarter as the Lady Dawgs continued their masterful execution and squeezed the life from their opponents with unrelenting defense pressure. Inside-outside was the theme on offense and when the Lady Dawgs were fouled by the tired Owlettes. They hit on 9 of 10 free throws from the line to keep the margin of a twenty-one point lead at the half, 31-9.
To continue such an intense game plan, McMasters employed her bench in the effort as well and got some valuable minutes from Brittney Williams, Hannah Hutson, Chelsea Johnson, and Brittney Crowell in relief. The strategy paid off as the bench held serve and CMS built a twenty-seven point lead by the end of the third quarter, 47-13.
The fourth quarter was nothing more than a formality and a chance for McMasters to reward her younger players with some exciting minutes in tournament play that will only help their confidence in the future. The final score was 47-16 and the Lady Dawgs advance into a second round match-up on Friday afternoon at 4:30 versus the McFadden Middle School Lady Mustangs who won their sixth straight Rutherford County championship with a 61-20 victory over Lascassas Friday night.
The balanced attack was evident in the final scoring numbers as Fagan led with 15 points, Reeves and Dalton had 9, and Endsley and Hopkins each scored 4.