These are the nights when instead of a collapsible seat to sit on, a basketball coach could have used a chaise lounge to soak in the scenery.
Coming off a Tuesday night loss to Lee Central in which his team held a one-point lead after three quarters, North Central girls’ head coach David Dawson and company sure needed a night like this.
The Lady Knights jumped on visiting Lewisville after one quarter, leading 17-5, extended the advantage to 52-20 late in the third quarter, before going onto a 63-36 romp to improve to 2-3 in Region 4-AA play.
The 27-point victory was exactly what the doctor, in this instance, Dawson would have prescribed for an ailing patient.
“I think we were just motivated tonight,” Dawson said. “We played a very tough game Tuesday at Lee Central and, I think, we just came out motivated tonight. We don’t like the feeling of losing so we came out and decided that we didn’t want to have that feeling, again, tonight.”
Led by a season-best 32 points from senior guard Kali Tomlin --- including seven 3-point baskets --- and 18 more from junior guard Peyton Holley, the hostesses were able to combat the Lady Lions’ one-player scoring act from senior center Amber Bass who led the visitors with 19 points.
The NC duo scored 16 points each in the first half with Tomlin knocking down four shots from distance while Holley had a pair of trifectas including a buzzer-beating trey from the top right of the arc to send the Lady Knights into the break holding a decided 37-15 edge. Dawson’s instructions to his players during his talk at intermission were simple: don’t let up and let LHS back into the game but not do it at the sake of embarrassing the Lady Lions.
“I wanted us to keep executing. I wanted to keep our foot to the pedal,” he said. “Also, I don’t like to try to show anyone up or, anything like that. At the end of the day, sportsmanship is key.”
NC used a 7-0 run --- fueled by a Tomlin 3-pointer, a Holley drive and a Madison Dixon layin --- to go on top 15-3 with 1:14 left to play in a first quarter which ended with the Lady Knights maintaining their 12-point lead at 17-5 after Tomlin scored from point-blank range thanks to a Dixon feed.
Things got no better for Lewisville in the second quarter as Tomlin and Holley both started hitting their stride.
Tomlin drained consecutive treys in the opening 90 seconds of the second quarter to make it 25-7. Holley then went outside the arc for a basket and then, went in for a layup and with 3:30 left before halftime, the NC advantage grew to 30-12. Tomlin and Holley each knocked down a trifecta in the closing 18 seconds with Holley’s dagger, which flew just a tick before the horn sounded making it 37-15. Bass was Lewisville’s offense, scoring 10 of the visitors’ points in the opening 16 minutes.
LHS would narrow the gap to below 20 points by opening the second half with four straight points. NC’s answer came in the form of a pair of Tomlin free throws and a 3-point jumper which sandwiched a Holley layin to up the ante to 44-19. Holley and Dixon found the mark from long-range on consecutive possessions before Tomlin closed the third quarter with a stickback to increase the Lady Knight lead to 52-20 in a third quarter which ended with a pair of Bass free throws to reduce the margin to 30 points at 52-22.
By the end of the third quarter, Tomlin had personally outscored the guests on her own, 26-22. Dawson said Tomlin is getting more confident on offense which is bad news for NC’s future region foes.
“As the season has gone along and as her touch has come back,” he said of Tomlin, “she’s starting to shoot better. She’s in mid-season form.”
The fourth quarter went to the form of the first three quarters save for the Lady Lions breaking from the fourth quarter gate on a 9-2 run before a Tomlin 3-pointer with 2:12 raised the bar to 57-31 with 2:12 to play.
The win help right the Lady Knight ship as they seek to make a return to the state playoffs. A confidence-booster such as this should serve them well heading into important 4-AA games with Buford on Tuesday to close the first go-through in conference play before starting the second round Friday at Andrew Jackson.
“This was huge,” Dawson said as he was leaving the court Friday. “Last year, we had two region wins total. For us to tie that mark already is big for this program.
“We have to keep improving and keep focusing on execution. That was our biggest thing coming out of halftime tonight. Even though we were up, I wanted us to continue to execute our offense and keep playing good defense.”
LHS (36): Katlyn Fossett 1 0-0 2, Olivia Dickman 1 6-14 8, Amber Bass 7 5-7 19, Allie Keels 2 0-2 4, Deja Mobley 0 1-2 1, Indy Tobias 0 0-1-0, Destini Simpson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 12 12-26 36
NC (63): Madison Dixon 4 0-0 9, Peyton Holley 7 2-4 18, Kali Tomlin 10 5-7 32, Danajah Robinson 1 1-2 3, Cassandra Broughton 0 1-2 1. Totals: 22 4-15 63
Score by quarters: First: NC, 17-5; Halftime: NC, 37-15; Third: NC, 52-22; Three-point goals: LHS none, NC 10 (Tomlin 7, Holley 2, Dixon)