Ninth-Ranked Tatum Finishes Strong + Downs Henderson In Battle Of 19-4A Unbeatens
TATUM -- The ninth-ranked Tatum Lady Eagles seized control of the District 19-4A race with a dominating 71-50 win over Henderson in a battle of league unbeatens Tuesday night at Eagle Coliseum.
Tatum (20-2, 3-0) is now one full game ahead of the Lady Lions (14-9, 3-1) in the district loss column with a head-to-head victory.
The calling card for Tatum's win involved intense full-court pressure on defense, and plenty of senior guard Alexes Bell on offense.
Bell finished with a game-high 27 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She also hit three or her team's four 3-pointers on the night. Ro'Nishia Simpson provided a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Brianna Mitchell finished with 15 points -- all in the first half -- with three boards and two assists.
Tatum's first-half lead was as much as 19 points before heading into the break with a 38-25 advantage. The Lady Eagles saw their lead shrink to just five points early in the third quarter and seven points at the beginning of the fourth, but closed the game on a 24-10 run.
Henderson was led in defeat by Nakia McElhanon, who finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Keyah Stewart added 10 points, eight assists and two steals, but failed to score in the second half. Madeline Morris connected on three 3-pointers to register nine points to go with three steals.
Tatum forced four steals in the opening quarter and entered the second period with a 22-12 lead. The Lady Eagles stretched the lead to 36-17 with a dominant beginning to the second before Henderson closed the half on an 8-2 run to get within 13 at halftime.
Morris knocked down two 3-pointers in the latter stages of the first half, and her third and final trey of the night cut Tatum's lead to 40-35 with 4:29 remaining in the third. Henderson had a chance to get even closer on its next possession, but missed a pair of free throws, which was a common occurrence throughout, as the Lady Lions were just 11 of 28 from the foul line.
Tatum regrouped and closed the third on a 7-2 run to build its lead back to 10 at 47-37. Tynesia Heckard's 3-point play at the beginning of the fourth sliced the lead to three points, but Tatum proceeded to go on a 14-5 run over the next 3:32 to increase its lead to 61-45.
Henderson returns to the court next Tuesday at Carthage, while Tatum travels to Carthage on Friday night.
No. 9 Tatum 71, Henderson 50
District 19-4A Girls Basketball
At Eagle Coliseum, Tatum
Henderson 12 13 12 13 -- 50
Tatum 22 16 9 24 -- 71
HENDERSON (14-9, 3-1) -- Nakia McElhanon, 16; Keyah Stewart, 10; Madeline Morris, 9; Tynesia Heckard, 7; Joy Williams, 5; Tamariah Dixon, 3.
TATUM (20-2, 3-0) -- Alexes Bell, 27; Brianna Mitchell, 15; Ro'Nishia Simpson, 14; Destiny Hicks, 7; LeAndrea Allison, 2; Juanita Luna, 2; Jada Shans, 2; Alexis Freeney, 1; Diamond Sammons, 1.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Henderson: Morris (3). Tatum: Bell (3), Mitchell.