Dodd City defeats Prairiland in physical bout
On Saturday, the Prairiland Lady Patriots opened up their basketball season in Pattonville against the mighty Dodd City Lady Hornets of Class 1A. In this matchup, Prairiland was able to match Dodd City’s physicality in a hard-fought first half, but the Lady Hornets’ offense was too much for a competitive and scrappy Prairiland squad down the stretch. In the end, Dodd City emerged from Pattonville with a 56-19 win.
Even after only just finishing up their volleyball season the previous day, Dodd City was a formidable foe. The Lady Hornets lost to Blum in the Regional Finals in the postseason, but Dodd City looked sharp for long stretches on offense and played suffocating defense — a true test early in the year for Prairiland.
“We haven’t seen anyone like that but of course it is early in the season,” Lady Patriots head basketball coach Callie Tucker said. “I’m expecting the girls to play at a higher level as we keep moving forward, but it was good for us to see that pressure defense.”
In the early going, Dodd City gained separation by pounding the ball inside. Dodd City’s senior 6-foot-3 post Journie Hilliard commanded a double team each trip down the floor. With that, junior 6-foot post Ali Preas went to work. She scored inside on a well-designed pick-and-roll play with 18.4 seconds left in the first quarter to push the visitors’ lead to 16-4. Then, senior guard Dani Baccus drove the lane and scored on a left-handed layup with 4 ticks remaining in the quarter to increase the advantage to 18-4. However, the Lady Patriots found new life in the second quarter.
After Preas opened the quarter with another lay-in, Prairiland senior post Hannah Murdock split a pair of free throws, then cut baseline and scored a layup off the feed from Malorie Sneed with 6:40 left before halftime to trim the deficit to 20-7. After that, junior Ali Sessums drew a foul after recording a nice block on defense. She stepped to the free-throw line with 5:03 remaining in the second quarter and sank one of her two free-throw attempts to cut Dodd City’s lead to 20-8. Then, the Lady Hornets went to work.
Dodd City used its stingy defense and opportunistic fast-break offense to end the half on a 6-0 run, putting the score at 26-8 in favor of the road team. The lead continued to swell down the stretch for Dodd City as sophomore guard Rion Baccus and junior guard Kylee Graves used playmaking and strong scoring from the perimeter frequently in the second half. Ultimately, the Lady Hornets were able to push through for the 56-19 victory.
Murdock led Prairiland with a team-high 12 points, while senior post T.J. Folse added 4 points. Juniors Abi Farmer and Sessums recorded 2 points and 1 point, respectively.
Dani Baccus led Dodd City with a game-high 20 points, while younger sister Rion Baccus added 12 points. Graves poured in 13 points for the Lady Hornets, while Preas totaled 6 points. Tori Dotson and Chase Lyde each recorded 2 points, while Hilliard had 1 point.
The Lady Patriots believe they showed competitiveness on the defensive end. However, Tucker feels confident that the offense has more to give and the little things will come together as the season rolls on.
“We just didn’t do a lot of little things that we know how to do and, you know, we hurt ourselves there,” Tucker said. “There are some possessions you see and you think, ‘We’re getting there, we’re getting it,’ and I saw some of those. I saw that we can handle some of the bigger girls down low, we can handle some of those faster guards, and we can play in all five spots. It’s there. We just have to get all the pieces together for four full quarters.”
The Lady Patriots will aim to bounce back at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Daingerfield. Meanwhile, the Lady Hornets go for another win at 6 p.m. tonight at Bells. For more sports coverage, click here.