by Rob Grubbs
The Fayette County Lady Tigers (9-14) hosted McIntosh (14-6) on Tuesday night with a lot on the line. At stake was the third spot in Region 3-AAAAA, which would draw a favorable matchup in the upcoming region tournament. McIntosh first-year head coach Rick Fontaine has relied on senior leadership, but a talented freshman backcourt has come on strong to round out a balanced starting five. They displayed disciplined, team basketball in methodically taming the Tigers 62-36 to move into the third place with three games remaining.
The Lady Chiefs knew they could count on seniors Kennedi Miller, Rylee Calhoun, and Anna Muh, but improved guard play has turned them into a dangerous tournament team. Freshman Carrie Consolino is lighting fast and has already forced opponents to alter their game plans. Recently, her freshman backcourt partner, Keara Collins, has come into her own from a confidence standpoint to solidify the lineup.
“She is a super hard worker,” Fontaine said of Collins. “Obviously, as a freshman getting thrown into being a starter and playing the schedule we got, she has grown. She is a super competitive kid and works her butt off and is learning at a high rate.”
The guard duo finished with 30 points as Collins had 10 and Consolino led all scorers with 20.
Fontaine said Consolino has also improved significantly.
“Carrie has tremendous speed and athleticism,” he said. “She is so athletic everybody thinks she is staying the same, but she has grown in the way she is handling the offense and taking control of the game.”
With big games ahead, Fontaine knows the senior group will be key.
“Our three seniors have been solid all year, especially on defense.”
Calhoun added 12 points, while Miller had 8 and Muh contributed 9 rebounds.
The loss spoiled senior night for the Lady Tigers, which saw Sidney Sims score 14 in her last regular season home game.
In the boys game, Coach Andre Flynn’s Tigers (19-4) took the court looking to escape their first two-game losing streak of the season against the Chiefs (8-12), who were on a four-game winning streak. The Tigers took out some of their frustrations on a big shooting night and put the Chiefs away with a convincing 79-62 win.
Flynn started an all-senior lineup for senior night, including guard James Carr, who made an early three en route to a first quarter 28-16 lead.
During their winning streak, the Chiefs surged behind the scoring of guard combination Naj Ashley-Emory and Bruce Carpenter, but the Tigers matched up well defensively and contained the talented duo.
The consummate leader and team player, Josh Dupree used his last home regular season game to showcase his skills. He could be a big-time scorer if needed, but he is surrounded by shooters, and on this night, he chose to find his open teammates and finished with 9 assists. JeKobe Coleman was 4-for-8 from beyond the three-point arc for the Tigers, who finished with nine 3-pointers in all.
Going into halftime down 47-33, McIntosh got a three of their own from Ashley-Emory to pull within 11, but that was a close as they would get. It was the Tigers’ night, and they relished the moment.
Terrell Bradley led the Tigers with 20 points, and Ricky Knight added 19. Greg Smith had a solid evening as well, including a three-point “Hoop and the Harm” play as the announcer Tim Miller would say, for a total of 9 points and 11 rebounds.
Flynn wanted to talk about Carr after the game.
“I am so proud of him. He has been in the program for four years, he works hard, he doesn’t get lot of playing time, but he is just as important to this team as any of them. I am very proud of him.”
The win keeps the Tigers tied for the top spot in the region with Jonesboro.
For the Chiefs, Ashley-Emory had 15 points and Keenan Brown followed with 12. They will look to start a new winning streak next week against Griffin.
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