by Jean Racine | Correspondent
LAKE BUTLER A hard fought contest between Dr. Phillips and Olympia came down to the wire Thursday night, with the host Titans defeating the Panthers, 46-44.
“(The game was) a little too close for comfort,” said Olympia head coach Robert Carmody. “I mean we fought, we took control in the third quarter and some seniors made some good plays.”
The Titans (7-2) were led by senior Briana Richardson, who scored 10 points in the first half.
“(Richardson) was incredibly active all night,” Carmody said. “She plays really, really tough defense, she’s got a motor, she won’t stop. She’s a great senior leader, for sure.”
Richardson made clutch shots and key defensive plays for the Titans. At the 4:07 mark of the fourth quarter, Richardson made a key block on one end of the floor and then drove for a lay-up on the other end.
Richardson’s running mate, senior Taylor Hair, started slow in the first half but would finish strong to help close out Dr. Phillips — Hair scored 12 points in the fourth quarter alone.
“Taylor took it home for us,” Carmody said. “We drew up a couple plays for her and she just hit some really good looks, period. She played like a senior. Defensively she just started controlling the rebounds and that was big … she didn’t quite have it going the first half, and then she got it going second half.”
Dr. Phillips (5-5) standout Tiffany Tolbert played well, finishing with 19 points on the night.
The Titans forced the ball out of Tolbert’s hand in the final minutes of the game, though, which led to some miscues by the Panthers.
“I like the defense late,” Carmody said. “The second half adjustments — we had to deal with Tiffany penetrating and we started to contain it.”
The Panthers’ had strong shooting and ball movement in the first half, but Olympia’s defensive adjustments in the second half helped propelled them to the victory.
“You gotta play basketball for four quarters,” said Dr. Phillips head coach Anthony Jones. “So a lot of missed free-throws on our behalf, ill-advised turnovers and that’s how you win or lose games.”