by Bill Cross, The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON — The Lady Tribe began defense of its Madison County Girls Basketball Tournament title with a solid start.
“I was telling the girls, ‘Let’s just come out and play our game,’” said Anderson coach Shannon Cleckley. “Come out, be aggressive on defense, steal the ball, finish and we were able to do that. I was very happy with how we started the game. We got a little lax there in the second, but the start was very good and set the tone.”
The Lady Tribe (9-7) went up 19-5 on its way to a 29-13 lead after one quarter. The combination of pressure defense and good ball movement on offense was the key for the Lady Tribe.
Anderson forced eight first-quarter turnovers, and six players scored for the Lady Tribe.
Elwood was able to cut the lead to 10 early in the second quarter, but the hosts went on a quick 6-0 run and eventually pushed the edge to as much as 22 before the break. Anderson led by 32 in the fourth before Elwood closed on a 12-2 run.
Kenigia Hamilton was a force inside for the Lady Tribe, scoring 21 points and snaring 12 rebounds in just under three full quarters of play. Dee Dee Sutton scored nine of her 14 points in the first quarter to help build the advantage. Antaria Hammond added 14 for the Lady Tribe while Stasha Hamilton had 11 points.
Kenzie Wilson tied Hamilton with 21 points and had 13 rebounds for Elwood (5-12). Gabby Leavell had 11 points while Taylor Jones had 10 points and five rebounds.
The Lady Tribe will host Liberty Christian on Wednesday in the second game at the Tepee. A win would give them a chance to defend the title Friday on their home floor.
“Honestly I told the girls it’s on them,” said Cleckley. “They are defending champs, you are on your home floor, what else do I need to say? We don’t want someone else cutting down the nets on our home floor.”