BY JOHN DUBOIS
First place in the Mid-West Athletic Conference was on the line Saturday as the Danville Area Community College Lady Jaguars welcomed the Parkland Cobras to the Mary Miller Gymnasium.
Both teams entered the contest with 4-1 records in MWAC play with the Jaguars’ lone conference loss coming to the Cobras on Jan. 30.
DACC kept the game close midway into the second half, but the Cobras were able to open up a late lead and weren’t threatened in the final minutes of a 70-57 win.
“We didn’t do a lot of things well today,” said DACC coach Kyle Bent. “We got beat in a lot of aspects of the game. We just played them and knew what they were going to do, but we have to put things together offensively and defensively if we are going to win games.”
The Jaguars took their only lead of the game on the opening basket, a lay-up from Lord, but the Cobras responded with a 10-0 run. The Jaguars answered right back with a 6-0 run, and moments later cut the margin to 17-16 following a basket from Montgomery. Lord and Tierra Golightly would combine to score the Jaguars’ first 14 points.
“Stephanie was making good decisions with the basketball,” Bent said. “She had one of the best first halves we have had all season.”
A basket from Tori Stephenson would tie the score at 20-20 and a late 3-pointer from Kamaren Cole would send the game into halftime tied 27-27.
Lively was shut out in the first half, but scored the Jaguars’ first six points in the second half.
“We had tried to get the ball to Hillary in the post early in the game,” Bent said. “It just didn’t work out to well for us until the second half.”
A 3-pointer two possessions later by Lord would cut the Parkland lead to 37-36, but Parkland responded with another 4-0 spurt to push the lead back to 41-36. The teams exchanged baskets over the next several minutes with the lead remaining between three and seven points. With a 52-47 lead and about 8 minutes to go, the Cobras went on a decisive 10-2 run which essentially put the game away.
“You can’t give up 43 points in the second half and expect to win to many games,” Bent said. “We tried just about everything you could try defensively. We couldn’t play man to man, we couldn’t play zone, we weren’t back in transition.
“It’s always been Coach (Karrie) Redeker’s philosophy to play 10-11 players and they did that today, and ideally that is something we look to do. With the injuries and all we have had to change some things up, but we are a well conditioned team and the depth issue is no excuse for how we played today.”
Heather Baker from Salt Fork had five points for the Cobras.
Stephanie Lord led the Jaguars with 15 points, with Hillary Lively adding 10 points, while Emily Montgomery chipped in with nine points. The Jaguars are now 18-8 overall, 4-2 MWAC, and have four games left in the regular season as they look to continue the progress that they made last year (19-11 overall) following a three win season in 2010-11.
The Jaguars have a week off before returning to action at home against Lewis & Clark at 2 p.m. next Saturday.
“We do have some injuries so it is going to help to have some time off,” Bent said. “It’s going to be good for us in that way, but today was a frustrating loss. We have the tools to be a successful team, but right now we are just not tough enough in the mental aspect of the game and have to focus on continuing to put things together.”