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February 9, 2014

Empire girls get second straight victory

EMPIRE — In the third quarter of Friday’s 62-36 home win against Big Pasture, Empire sophomore Sherre Dewey ripped off a piece of tape around her ankle and tossed it toward the trash can. It was one of the very few shots that didn’t fly in for the point guard.

Dewey sunk four three-pointers and had 25 points in the blowout of the Lady Rangers (14-9). It was a surprise for everyone including the underclassman.

“(Coach Jason Allensworth) always yells at me, because I won’t shoot,” Dewey said. “Finally, I took like a million shots and they were all just falling.”

Allensworth was happy with Dewey’s performance. He noted that with seniors Melaina Yearby, Jessica Carney and Kaelyn Allensworth all leaving after this season, a lot will be asked of the youngster down the road.

“That’s our future right there,” Allensworth said. “For her to step in that role and have the confidence to go and score 25, that’s a big confidence booster.”

With Yearby adding 22, the Bulldogs romped to their second straight victory. It also meant a lot to Allensworth that the girls were having fun on the court. They were enjoying the victory instead of getting caught up in small mistakes that were being made.

“They are their worst enemy,” Allensworth said. “They will beat themselves up over the smallest thing and they’re finally learning how to loosen up and be confident in what they are doing on the floor.”

That showed the most in the team’s offensive rebounding. The Bulldogs channelled that persistant attitude to crashing the boards.

“Rebounding is a blue-collar job,” Allensworth said. “They’ve taken it on as something to really get better at and get another chance to shoot the ball.”

The main problem for the boys in their 58-51 loss to No. 10 Big Pasture (16-7) was fouling. The Bulldogs (3-14) committed 28 fouls against the Rangers, who only had 13 of their own. Still the underdog held tough and was trailing by just five entering the fourth quarter, thanks to a buzzer-beating putback by sophomore Holden Bailey.

However, the Bulldogs couldn’t make up the deficit and after senior Tanner Ford was knocked down while shooting a layup with no whistle, Empire coach Stefan Hunt was issued a technical for his reaction.

“I knew it was bad for the fit that I threw,” Hunt said. “I hate to blame it on the officials, but when you look at it, 25 of their 58 points came from the foul line.”

Sophomore Evan Whitt led the team with 21 points. Ford added 12, though Hunt said he “should have had 30 with how much he got beat up down there.”

Empire’s games against Ringling on Saturday were cancelled due to bad weather.

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