Lost by a hair

Published 10:59 am Friday, December 19, 2014

The Windsor Lady Dukes dropped a Tri-Rivers basketball tilt to the Greensville County Eagles on Wednesday evening, 50-44. Vonquisha Turner and Bridgette Walton led the Dukes with 14 points, apiece, in the losing effort, while Greensville’s Taiquona Conner paced all scorers with 18.

Greensville secured the opening tipoff and scored the first points of the game on a perfect outlet pass to Tia Eason. The Eagles, who opened the game in a zone defense, caused several Windsor turnovers and raced out to a 9-2 lead.

“We practice against the the zone and man-to-man, so it wasn’t anything new,” said Windsor head coach Sherry Ashburn. “We just couldn’t get the ball where it needed to go.”

When Windsor did score, Greensville would call a play usually reserved for opportunities under their own basket. Standing in a straight line, Conner would leak out and run the length of the floor faster than her defender as the inbounding player lobbed it toward the opposite end. The teams exchanged baskets on four-consecutive possessions, as Windsor would tap in two and Greensville would run this same play.

“We hadn’t run that play before tonight,” said Greensville coach Sharon Manning. “It worked really well because they weren’t sending any defenders back to prevent it.”

When Turner banked in a shot from beyond the arc to cut the lead to four, Manning called the game’s first timeout. It was obvious what play she drew up on the sidelines, but as the Dukes doubled Conner, Tia Eason slipped away from her defender for the easy basket.

“I told them to watch that (play),” Ashburn said. “We really need to work on that.”

The start of the second quarter was more of the same, as both teams stuck with the same lineup and the Eagles used their size and aggressiveness to create turnovers that led to easy transition buckets. After extending their lead to 13, Greensville’s Manning called several replacements off of the bench and settled into a zone defense, daring the Dukes to make wide open shots.

Two possessions later, Jazzmine Bynum banked in a three-pointer off of the glass to cut the lead to single digits, prompting Manning to send her starters back onto the floor. Although they were on the bench for mere minutes, the Eagles seemed to have cooled off from their torrid start, turning the ball over on three-consecutive possessions to end the quarter. Windsor, meanwhile, capitalized on every touch and trailed by five at the half.

Their equanimity allowed the Dukes to scrap their way back into the game, and they took the lead on a putback by Walton just minutes into the third. Feeling the game slip away, the Eagles pressed a bit offensively and came up empty on four-straight trips down the floor. Windsor pushed the lead to five before Manning called timeout.

The fourth quarter opened with a bit of confusion, as Windsor was playing a man down because a Lady Duke had walked off the court after losing her hair. When Ashburn had realized it, she immediately sent in a backup player, but three quick baskets from Conner, including a fadeaway midrange jumper, gave the visiting team a lead they never relinquished. When the player returned from the locker room, a one-point Windsor lead had blossomed into a five-point deficit. A basket plus the foul extended the lead to eight in the final minutes, and Greensville played the clock from there.

“We have some work to do, but we’ll be all right,” said Ashburn. “We held our own tonight, and won two of the four quarters, but we just had some missed opportunities.

With the loss, the Lady Dukes fall to 4-2 on the season. The team returns to action Friday, hosting the Park View Dragons at 7 p.m.