Tigerettes continue on without O'Neal

Friday, November 28, 2008

Addricka O'Neal, senior guard and heart and soul of the defense for the Tigerettes is out for the year, injuring her knee versus Blackman last week. The injury to her right knee ACL is the second such injury for the speedster in three years. O'Neal injured her left ACL at the state tournament two years ago and was just rounding back to one hundred percent when she was injured again last Thursday.

The Tigerettes continue on without her on the court, but not without her in their hearts and minds.

"It is hard not having Dricka," said Artavia Bryant after the Tigerettes demolished Lincoln County 49-22 at home on Monday night. "She is our best defensive player. Coach (Boyd West) told us all we have to step up our game now."

"They are all taking it pretty hard," said West. "She had just come off the ACL injury in her junior year and was just now rounding back into shape. She is the sparkplug on defense. I told them all before the game tonight that if Dricka could be out there, she would."

"They (doctors) are telling her that she will be ready for softball," West added.

The Tigerettes took no time at all making the statement that they are indeed moving on without O'Neal, jumping all over Lincoln County from the outset of the game.

Lauren March scored on the Tigerettes first possession and moments later Bryant canned a long two pointer for a 4-0 lead.

Lincoln County's Candace Gordon knocked down a three to make it 4-3 and then the Tigerettes took off, running and gunning to nine straight points.

O'Neal, who was watching from behind the bench would have been proud because the Tigerettes turned defensive pressure into points on the other end with the big play coming from NeNe McLean who stole the rock and fed a streaking March for the bucket and a 13-3 margin.

T'Essence Phelps scored for the Lady Falcons, but LaRhonda O'Neal counter punched the visitors, draining a long three bomb from the left corner for a 16-5 first quarter lead.

There was no scoring the first two minutes of the second quarter before Jakerra Simmons broke the ice with a low post move for an 18-5 Tigerette lead.

Phelps scored the only basket for the Lady Falcons midway through the stanza to make it an 18-7 game.

Andraya Tears, coming off some lingering injuries from soccer scored for the Tigerettes to make it 20-7 and LaRhonda O'Neal flipped in a short jumper late for a 22-7 halftime lead for MCHS.

The third quarter was the pivotal eight minutes for the Tigerettes, outscoring Lincoln County 16-8 to take control for good.

Most of the damage was done in the low post for the Tigerettes with March, Simmons, and Tears combining for 10 points in the quarter. MCHS led 38-15 after three periods.

The Lady Falcons wore down from the defensive onslaught that never ended to fall by the 27 point margin, 49-22.

March led all scorers with 18 points, LaRhonda O'Neal and Bryant each had 7, Tears and Simmons scored a half dozen apiece, and McLean finished with 5.