Dexter wins third straight Classic title

Saturday, January 3, 2009
Dexter's Ashlee Taylor saves the ball from going out of bounds during the second quarter Saturday night in the finals of the Lady Royals Holiday Classic in Broseley. (Daily American Republic/Brian Rosener)

BROSELEY -- Winning three of anything in-a-row is hard to do. But the Dexter Lady Bearcats were up to the challenge Saturday night at the Twin Rivers Lady Royal Classic.

Using offensive outbursts most of the game, the top-seeded Dexter downed Portageville 68-45 for the Lady Bearcats' third consecutive Lady Royal Classic title and their fourth overall in the last five years.

"It's (a) very big (deal)," Dexter coach Chad Allen said about the Lady Bearcats winning three straight Lady Royal Classic titles. "A lot of these girls played on varsity as sophomores and won it all three years so it's definitely special to them. Hopefully we'll just keep on getting better and keep on plugging away."

Only up by four points coming into the fourth quarter, the Lady Bearcats closed out the Lady Bulldogs with a huge fourth quarter. Dexter outscored Portageville, 27-8, to close out what was a close game through three quarters.

Dexter all night long relied on sudden outbursts offense as they went on runs in the first and second quarters.

But the big one was late and ultimately helped Dexter pull away late.

"That was defenitley a hard-fought contest," Allen said. "Portageville's a very good team and boy they showed it tonight. Luckily we pulled away toward the end but the score defenitley didn't really show the outcome of the game."

Junior Abbie Warren, who didn't make the all-tournament team, scored nine of her 19 points to pace the team.

"She definitely got on the boards and got a lot stick backs," Allen said of Warren. "She's a big threat inside and she's real strong and she did an unbelievable job against (Portageville's Jeleea) Drake."

Portageville outscored Dexter, 12-8, in the third quarter. The Lady Bearcats had to sit Cathryn Heil for a few minutes as she had four fouls and Portageville in turn attacked the lane.

Brittney Walker, who made the all-tournament team, scored six points in the quarter.

The Lady Bearcats got out to a good start just as it had Friday night against Naylor in the semifinal.

Dexter got out to a 11-0 against the Lady Eagles and on Saturday night, it got out to a quick 7-0 lead on the Lady Bulldogs.

A huge factor early on the first quarter was Warren's offensive rebounding which set up several second chance points for Dexter.

Kateyn Heil took care of those extra opportunities as she scored nine first quarter points for the Lady Bearcats.

Portageville's Courtney Chamberlain exploded in the second quarter as she went on a personal 10-0 run including two 3-pointers to give the Lady Bulldogs a two point lead, 19-17.

Dexter would respond though with a run of its own led by Ashlee Taylor who scored five points on a Lady Bearcats 13-0 run to get out to a 30-19 lead.

Katelyn Heil led Dexter with six points in the quarter and ended the contest with a game-high 19 points. Heil averaged 21 points in the last two games of the tournament. Taylor ended the night with 10 points Ronesha Ray finished with 11 points.

The Lady Bulldogs were led by Brittney Walker with 14 points

Portageville took home the third-place title last season after beating Kelly. The Lady Bulldogs have never won the Lady Royal Classic.

Dexter beat Naylor, 64-52, in last year's final while knocking off Kelly, 67-49, in the 2006 final a year after losing to Doniphan 57-40 in the championship game. In 2004, Dexter beat Doniphan 63-31.

The all-tournament team consisted of Dexter's Kathryn Heil, Ashlee Taylor and Jill Temples, as well as Portageville's Jeleea Drake and Brittney Walker. Kelly's Londyn Backfisch and Debra Hall were also named along with, Greenville's Tara Porter, Torey Davis of Twin Rivers and Neelyville's Lindsey Emerson, Moriah Goodrum of Naylor and Charleston's Jerquawnda Sherrell.

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