DeKalb Sweeps District Doubleheader Over Macon County

by Rusty Ellis

The DeKalb County Tigerettes took down Macon County on Thursday night 85-80, holding off a furious Macon County rally in the fourth quarter for the win.

DeKalb’s offense got rolling early, as a Tess Barton basket at the buzzer gave the Tigerettes a 26-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. DCHS continued their solid play into the second quarter, but just couldn’t shake Macon County loose to pull away.

By the time the game reached halftime, DeKalb pushed their lead to 15 points at 47-32.

Macon County continued battling in the third, cutting the deficit just slightly to 63-49 entering the fourth quarter, but this was where the defensive intensity ratcheted up a bit for the visiting Tigerettes.

Thanks to their press, MCHS cut the lead all the way down to just one point at 77-76 after a three-pointer. That was the closest they would get however, as DeKalb made their free throws to seal the 85-80 victory.

Ella VanVranken led the way with 27 points, while Madison Martin followed closely behind with 22 points of her own. Karly Ramsey paced Macon County with 22 points.

While it wasn’t the cleanest ending to the game, DCHS head coach Brandy Alley says she was still pleased with how her team handled the pressure as a whole.

“I’m just glad our girls held out and did their job,” Alley said. “I think both teams being out of school the last two days might’ve made them a bit sluggish, but I’m glad our girls did what they needed to and pulled out the win.”

VanVranken, justifiably so, gets a lot of the defensive attention each game for the Tigerettes, and while she led the way in scoring tonight, Alley adds that a key component of their success lately has been the added scoring from Martin.

“She had 19 our last game and 22 this game, and she’s really just come into this senior role,” Alley said. “She does what her team needs, and tonight she had most of our points early…as a senior, she’s doing a really good job at leading the team tonight.”

Defensively, Alley says there’s still plenty to improve on with one week of the regular season left.

“We let some things go tonight that we hadn’t been letting go recently,” Alley said. “We’ve been pretty strong on our defensive rotations, and tonight we were just a little sluggish…we’ll work on our rotations and make sure we’re seeing things a little bit better.”

The Tigers got off to a slower start defensively in the boys game, but a big second-half blew the game wide open in a 68-49 victory over Macon.

DeKalb took a 20-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, but much like the girls game, it appeared Macon was in for a battle and kept the deficit within eight points after Alex Antoniak split a pair of free throws to make the score 35-27 at halftime.

The third quarter is where the Tigers ran away on the scoreboard, as thanks to a big quarter from Zack Birmingham, DeKalb found themselves holding a 58-34 lead and cruised to the finish-line from there for a 19-point win over Macon County.

While he was pleased with the win as a whole, head coach Joey Agee says he had plenty of criticism for his team at halftime regarding their defense.

“I wasn’t really pleased with our defensive effort in the first half, we didn’t turn them over at all,” Agee said. “We just challenged the kids at halftime to turn the intensity up…we were able to get some other kids in tonight to save our legs a little bit.”

Birmingham’s growth is something Agee’s been happy to see this season, as he knows he’ll need the athleticism he provides more moving forward.

“We’ve just been challenging him in practice to be more assertive at the offensive end,” Agee said. “Sometimes he just stands around the three-point line too much…he doesn’t just put his foot in the ground and drive the ball, so Coach Randolph challenged him to do that more this week and he played well tonight.”

DeKalb will head to Crossville on Tuesday to take on Cumberland County, while Macon will be at Stone Memorial on Friday.