By Zack Huffman
Mundy's Mill put everything on the line last night as the Tigers celebrated senior night, hosting rival Lovejoy for a 4-AAAAA region match up.
While it may have a good night to be a senior, the same cannot be said for both competing Mundy's Mill teams, with the girls from Mundy's Mill and the boys from Lovejoy each claiming victories.
On senior night there is undoubtedly the added pressure to bring home a victory. The pressure was most apparent in the Lady Tigers' (17-7:12-5) slow start against the Lovejoy Lady Wildcats (6-19:3-14).
The two rival teams kept the game even with just slight tilts in either direction until the final quarter when The Lady Tigers pounced on the Wildcats for a 57-49 win.
"It was an ugly game. Rival games sometimes are," said Mundy's Mill coach Lonnie Farmer. "I'm glad we had the poise to pull it out in the end."
"I'm disappointed we didn't win," said Lovejoy coach Eric Habelt. "I'm not frustrated, the girls are playing hard. They're giving it everything they've got. We've just got to figure out how to finish."
Bria Joyner-Williams and Alease Allen each scored team highs for Lovejoy of nine points, with Williams grabbing 14 rebounds to Allen's seven.
Tandrea High was the key to the Lady Tigers' offense, with 18 points, while Kristian Scott performed a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Lovejoy set out to control the game from the beginning, taking an early lead with the help of a pair of shots from outside. The Lady Wildcats held their lead into the second quarter.
The Lady Tigers spent the better part of the second quarter working their way into the lead, seeing it slip away for a moment, only to reclaim it before the half.
Lovejoy came back from the half matching every attack from Mundy's Mill, retaking control of the game with the help of a clean shot from the free throw line by Quintarius Carter.
Despite the two-point deficit heading into the final quarter, the Lady Tigers regrouped, dominating the Lady Wildcats, scoring 18 points to Lovejoy's eight.
"It was a tight, tense game all the way through," said Farmer.
The boys of Mundy's Mill stepped onto the court, with the hopes of matching the success of the Lady Tigers.
Despite a strong start, Mundy's Mill (5-20:2-15) was unable to match Lovejoy's (9-14:6-11) high-pressure defense.
"Any win you feel good about," said Lovejoy boys' coach Rick Francis. "We had a rough first half. After that, we kind of got it together and started playing Wildcat basketball."
From the beginning, the Tigers maintained control of the game, opening with a 7-0 lead.
Lovejoy struggled to close the gap never getting closer than three points in the first half.
Coming into the third quarter, the Tigers were sitting on a comfortable 21-13 lead.
The Wildcats exploded into the second half, dominating the third quarter with 19 points while holding the Tigers to seven.
The key to Lovejoy's success lay in the Wildcats turning up the pressure on their defensive style in the second half, to work against Mundy's Mill's half-court game.
"We had to switch it up, because they had adapted to what we were trying to do in the first half," said Francis. "We figured we would take them out of their comfort zone."
Cameron Solomon officially claimed the lead for Lovejoy in the third quarter. Despite scoring just two points in the first half, Solomon scored 14 more points in the second half to lead the team. Morris Mitchell and Lou Joseph tied for most rebounds with five boards apiece.
Marvin Taylor lead the scoring effort for the Tigers, scoring 12 points, while tieing with Marcus Gillam for most rebounds, with five.
The Wildcats kept up their momentum in the final quarter with 19 more points to Mundy's Mill's 13 for a decisive 51-41 win.