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Commanderettes start season with mixed results

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By John Overby

In an opening-night thriller, the WC Commanderettes were on the ropes with the game on the line against the Taylor County Lady Cardinals.

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They had just surrendered a five-point lead in just over 30 seconds and found themselves in a tied game with 27 seconds remaining.

After WC had already clawed their way back from a nine-point second-half deficit, it looked as if they might be headed to overtime.

But as sophomore Karagan Brizendine dribbled the clock down and finally made her move to the basket with under 10 seconds to play, fate intervened.

To prevent an easy layup, a Taylor County defender had to come off of sophomore Taylor Eldridge, leaving Brizendine with a clear lane for a pass.

From there, it was as easy as catch, shoot, score for Eldridge, which she did in just enough time, with the ball entering the net with no time left on the clock.
Game, Commanderettes. 47-45.

However, a WC win appeared to be in some doubt by the end of the first half, with the Cardinals taking a 23-16 lead and all of the momentum into the locker room.

And they didn’t miss a beat after halftime either, scoring on their first possession of the second half.

But that is when the Commanderettes were able to wrench control away from Taylor County, gradually chipping away at the lead until they tied the contest at 34 with 5:44 left in the final period, setting up the dramatic finish.

For Head Coach Bernard Smalley, getting a road win in the first game of the season was crucial, no matter how they achieved it.

After all, a win is a win.

“We didn’t do everything right,” Smalley said, “but in the end, we played hard, we fought hard and were able to sneak out a two-point win.”

But his team proving their resilience was an added bonus.

“They showed me that they’re going to fight, no matter what,” Smalley said. “We’ve got to play 32 minutes, we’ve gotta fight, fight, fight, and that’s what they did. They showed me that when the chips are down, they’re not going to quit on me or their team.”
They weren’t able to dwell on their win long, however.

The Commanderettes travelled to the second-ranked team in their region—the Boyle County Lady Rebels—a few days later.

The results were not the same, although at halftime, the scenario did seem similar, with the Commanderettes trailing by 12 and cutting the Rebels’ lead to 10 after the break.

But it was to no avail, with Boyle able to run away with the game in the second half, finishing off WC with a 65-20 blowout win.

But, despite the loss, Smalley believes that his team “didn’t play that bad, especially on defense.

“Our main things were that we couldn’t score,” Smalley said, “and that we couldn’t turn them over. For us to be successful on defense, we’ve got to create a lot of steals, and we didn’t force Boyle into [mistakes]. And on offense, we had an eight-minute stretch where we didn’t score. You can’t win games like that.”

On Monday night, the Commanderettes fell to the John Hardin Lady Bulldogs 71-46, falling to 1-2 on the season.

Their next game will be this Friday night, as they host district opponent Thomas Nelson.