Published Saturday, January 12, 2013
By DOUG GORMAN
East Coweta head coach Paula Jones has won some big games among the 500-plus victories included in her 40-year career. And not many may have been as emotional than the one her team came through with on Friday night.
Jones, who announced her retirement before the start of the season, took her team into the Max Bass Athletic Complex for the last time and came away with a 50-40 victory over rival Newnan.
“This was really special,” she said, “We needed a victory and to get one against our rivals at their place is big.”
The victory snapped East Coweta’s three-game losing streak and improved its record to 3-11 overall and 2-1 in Region 3-AAAAAA play. Newnan, which won the first time Tuesday against Tri-Cities, fell to 1-10 and 1-1 overall.
“This victory helps us in the region,” Jones said. “I think we grew up a little bit tonight.”
Leading 26-21 at the half, the Lady Indians held off a furious run by the Lady Cougars down the stretch to seal the victory.
After Eboni Williams hit a shot for East Coweta to put the Lady Indians up 37-23, Newnan fought back with a 12-0 run.
LaKil Derring handled the bulk of the scoring for the Lady Cougars in the third quarter to start the team on the comeback. Derring scored all but two of the Lady Cougars points in the third period to as the Lady Cougars erased the Lady Indians double-digit lead.
Her basket in the fourth quarter capped the 12-point run and cut the Lady Indians’ lead to 41-38, but East Coweta closed out the game with a 9-2 spurt. Despite the loss, Derring led all scorers with 21 points.
East Coweta used a more balanced attack with Lexy Zelczak leading the way with 11 points. Eboni Wiliams and Ciarra Davison each had 9 for East Coweta.
East Coweta controlled the paint on the defensive end of the floor, holding Tiara Calloway to just six points and just one field goal. Calloway’s only basket came in the first quarter to tie the contest at 6-6.
“We were able to limit her touches and that really helped us,” Jones said.
(To view photos from this game, visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
After a sluggish first quarter and a slow start to the second period, both team’s offenses began to hit up.
Trailing Newnan 9-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Indians outscored the Lady Cougars 18-12 in the final eight minutes of the second quarter to take a 26-21 lead at the end of the first half.
The Lady Indians spread the scoring over the second period, getting solid production from three players.
Davison and Brandi Strickland each had two key baskets during the period, but it was the play of Zelczak that took things over for the Lady Indians. Zelczak connected on two baskets during the period, and equally helped the Lady Indians stay in front by hitting 3 of 4 free throws.
Derring had the hot hand for the Lady Cougars, hitting back-to-back 3-point shots in the second quarter. Each of her treys cut the lead to East Coweta lead to one point.
The Lady Indians, however, played solid defense during the second period, holding Newnan to just one other field goal.
O’Lexus Bonner hit a shot right before the half to keep East Coweta’s lead at five.
SCORING SUMMARY – East Coweta 50, Newnan 40
East Coweta 8 18 15 9 — 50
Newnan 9 12 9 10 — 40
East Coweta 50 (3-11, 2-1) – Ciarra Davison 9, Kiandra Hall 4, Ayanna Reid 3, Brandi Sinkfield 8, Eboni Willams 9, Lexy Zelczak 11, Bre Tiggs 6.
Newnan 40 (1-10, 1-1) – Chaycie Goggins 2, Meteras Getter 3, LaKil Derring 21, O’Lexus Bonner 6, Tiara Calloway 6, Sierra Burson 2.