Whenever Calhoun and Sonoraville get together, it’s always a passionate, intense atmosphere and Thursday night at The Furnace lived up to the hype.
The Lady Phoenix and Lady Jackets met for the second time in eight days. In front of a packed house, the Sonoraville Lady Phoenix defeated the Calhoun Lady Jackets 53-43. Sonoraville extends its win streak over the Lady Jackets to six games.
“It’s always good to get that first region win,” Caudell said. “It was a great environment. Tough, hard-fought physical game, so I’m pleased for sure.”
The Lady Phoenix’s home opener was a defensive battle throughout. After one quarter, Sonoraville held a 10-9 lead with only seven field goals made between the teams combined.
“We made some defensive adjustments in just the way we guarded some folks (last) Wednesday night to tonight,” Lady Jackets head coach Jaime Echols said. “(Sonoraville’s) quick and they’re long and they get in your face. They’re always in the right spot, which makes it difficult. We’re not the shooting team we want to be yet. Our kids are getting there, (but) we’ve still got a little bit of work to do on that end.”
The Lady Phoenix started to stretch their lead toward the end of the second quarter, going on a 9-2 run to close the first half. Sonoraville junior Matti Parker hit two field goals, interspersed with a 3-pointer by Abby Chambers and a basket by senior Maliyah Parks. The Lady Phoenix led 29-18 at the break.
“Our pressure gave them a little bit of trouble,” Caudell said. “We were able to get a couple of turnovers at the end of the first half and it turned into some easy offense. Abby Chambers made a big three and, generally with this group, when they see the ball go in a couple times, they tend to feed off that.”
The second half also saw a similar defensive struggle, as Sonoraville could not pull away from Calhoun. When the final horn sounded, the Lady Phoenix had secured a 10-point victory for their sixth in-a-row over the Lady Jackets.
In the win, Sonoraville junior Alexa Geary led all scorers with 20 points. Parker was second with 16. For the Lady Jackets, junior Lyndi Rae Davis finished with 13.
“Alexa is a talented offensive player,” Caudell said. “She’s one that we depend on every night to get baskets and I thought she did a good job staying within herself and made a couple of tough ones. In the fourth quarter, she made some really big shots.”
For Echols, this was his first game coaching a regional battle between the two programs.
“I thought it was awesome,” Echols said on the atmosphere. “Our fans were behind us, going crazy and their fans were. That’s what high school ball is about, so it was a lot of fun. I know it was fun for our kids and I was really pleased with the way they held their composure and played through all the craziness.”
“I’ve been part of lots of them, but it’s always a good atmosphere,” Caudell said. “The kids love it. They love playing in front of that kind of crowd. It’s fun to have a rivalry if it makes everybody raise their game.”
The Lady Phoenix move to 4-2 while the Lady Jackets fall to 1-3.
“I liked our fight tonight,” Echols said. “I thought we came out ready to play aggressive, and that’s what you’ve got to do against a really good team like that.”
Both teams have a quick turnaround as Calhoun’s home opener is Friday versus Murray County while Sonoraville travels to Ringgold.