By Ken Lay

When Clinton High School’s girls basketball team lost to Central in a holiday tournament in December, Lady Dragons coach Alicia Phillips decided that it was time to make some changes.

“We’ve changed the way that we run our offense since Christmas time,” Phillips said after Clinton shook off a lethargic start to down the host Lady Bobcats 50-26 in a District 3-AAA game at Central High School Tuesday night. “We played much better in the second half tonight than we did in the first half.

“In the first half, they got some good shots and they made them. In the second half, we played much better defense.”

The Lady Dragons (3-20 overall, 3-9 in the district) and Lady Bobcats (2-21, 0-14) were embroiled in a tightly contested battle throughout much of the first half and Central held a narrow 16-14 edge midway through the second quarter before Clinton scored the final 11 points of the first half and opened a 25-16 halftime advantage.

“We had a big run at the end of the first half and that changed the complexion of the game,” Phillips said.

The Lady Bobcats scored the first five points of the third quarter as Lazaia Peebles and Teyanna Beard made consecutive baskets to pull Central to within four points. Peebles buried a 3-point shot to make the score 25-21 with 4 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the third stanza.

The Lady Bobcats didn’t come any closer as the Lady Dragons closed the frame with a 12-0 run.

Central scored just 10 points after halftime and the Lady Dragons took advantage of some second-chance opportunities to pull away for a seemingly lopsided victory.

Lady Bobcats coach Josh Brannon said that he was pleased with his team’s effort.

“The biggest difference in the game was that they had some second chances off of their rebounds,” he said. “We’re still a very young team and we had some turnovers and we tried to speed up the tempo and we turned the ball over.

“I thought that our effort was there. Our girls played hard and I thought this was a pretty good basketball game.”

Defensively, the Lady Bobcats couldn’t find a way to stop Clinton center Kelley Wandell. She had 16 points to lead all scorers. Nikki Jones added 16 points for the Lady Dragons.

Peebles scored 15 points for the Lady Bobcats and Beard finished with eight.