on January 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Daniel girls capture second straight Apple Classic title

WALHALLA — In just her second year at the helm of the Daniel High School girls’ basketball program, Jody Powell has seen a massive change in the culture of the Lions.

That hadn’t been more evident this season than following the Lions’ 48-32 victory over Walhalla on Wednesday afternoon in the championship game of the Razorbacks’ Apple Classic Holiday Hoops Tournament, marking the second consecutive year Daniel has come away with the title.

And in the locker room after accepting the tournament trophy, Powell said the difference in her players was like night and day between the two Apple Classic title games.

“I told them last year winning this tournament was like winning a national championship because we won something,” Powell said. “Now, it’s almost like second nature like they expect to win. It’s a fine line, because you never want to be cocky, but you want to be confident and expect to win every night, and we’re getting to that point.”

In earning the championship, the Lions (10-2) were able to overcome a few Walhalla rallies, which helped turn what looked to be a runaway win into a competitive championship game.

After trailing 22-13 at halftime, the Razorbacks (7-5) cut the deficit to six points to open the third quarter after a free throw from freshman Shanna Pearce, who led Walhalla on the night with 16 points, and a basket from senior Tish Winchester.

But after a timeout from Powell, the Lions went a on a run of their own, scoring on four straight possessions, with Allison Droddy, Kirsten Kaiser, Anna Qualkinbush and Katie Schmidt all getting in on the act to help the Lions out to a 30-16 lead in a matter of a little more than two minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Walhalla managed to cut the deficit to nine points at 37-28 on a basket by Ashlee Smith, but three straight baskets from Anicia Dotson, who led Daniel with 16 points, helped end a Razorbacks’ threat that head coach Cheryl Murphy said was a strong effort.

“We got behind, and we never could make up that difference,” Murphy said. “We made a good shot at it in the fourth quarter with some pressure defense and turned some of that into points, but we just couldn’t get back.”

And by the way her team, particularly Dotson, responded during that stretch in the fourth quarter, Powell said it was just another way to tell the Lions have matured from this point a year ago.

“When a team made a run on us last year that could kill us,” Powell said. “But this year we have the confidence to come back from that.”

Both Daniel and Walhalla will be back on the court Tuesday before opening up region play next Friday. The Lions will be at home against Easley, while Walhalla will travel to face Oconee County rival Seneca.

Daniel 48, Walhalla 32

DWD 14 8 11 15 — 48

WHS 5 8 6 13 — 32

Daniel (48) — Dotson 16, A. Droddy 10, Schmidt 9, Kaiser 8, Qualkinbush 4, Garrett 1.

Walhalla (32) — Pearce 16, Winchester 7, Barker 4, Smith 3, Chambers 2.