BY JOHN DUBOIS
The Danville Area Community College Lady Jaguars returned to the court for the first time in a week on Saturday as they faced the Lewis & Clark Lady Trailblazers in a key Midwest-Athletic Conference match up at the Mary Miller Gymnasium.
With four conference games remaining, both teams entered the game still in contention for the MWAC conference title behind the Parkland Cobras with the Jaguars holding a one game lead on the third place Trailblazers.
DACC won the previous match-up with Lewis & Clark by one point in overtime, but this time it wasn’t close as the Jaguars pulled away in the second half and cruised to a 73-62 win.
A balanced offensive effort for DACC saw all eight players on the roster score with Tierra Golightly leading the way with a double-double scoring 16 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. Kamaren Cole added 14 points. Stephanie Lord and Megan Hiner had 12 points each, and Emily Montgomery chipped in with 10 points.
“With eight players we have to have balance if we are going to win,” said DACC coach Kyle Bent. “We can’t expect one player to do all the scoring. We have a lot of players who can score and five players in double figures is outstanding. We made the extra pass, got some easy baskets and made some lay-ups. Defensively we have been bad at times this year stopping other teams from making runs on us, but we did a better job of that today.”
It was a breakout game off the bench for Golightly, a 5 foot-11 inch sophomore from Indianapolis.
“Tierra played as well today as she has all year,” Bent said. “She also got some big rebounds and did a good job at the line. Tierra was a big reason that we won this game.”
Overall it was a huge game at the free throw line for the Jaguars, who drew 24 fouls and converted 28 of 36 free throw attempts.
“We have been working a lot in practice at knocking down our free throws, Bent said. We made an effort today to get to the line and we were also helped by our efforts on the offensive glass. Getting to the line also disrupted what Lewis & Clark likes to do on offense by taking them out of their rhythm.”
Both teams got out to a slow start and the score was tied 5-5 after five minutes of play. The game would be tied seven more times in the first half with the last tie coming at 26-26.
The Jaguars were able to break the tie in the last minute and a put-back from Golightly with 25 seconds to go would send DACC into halftime with a 30-26 lead.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy early in the game,” Bent said. “One week is a little bit of a lay-off, but this was also our 27th game (19-8 overall, 5-2 MWAC) and its a very long season.”
The first five minutes of the second half decided the game as the Jaguars took control with a 9-0 run opening a 39-26 lead.
“We worked our half court offense a lot better in the second half,” Bent said. “We made good decisions with the basketball, and didn’t settle for outside shots. We felt they were the most vulnerable on the baseline and wanted to attack them there which forced them out of a zone and back to man to man.”
The lead would reach a high of 15 points and the Trailblazers never closed the margin to fewer than eight points. Even though she only scored one point, it was also a breakout game for former Bismarck-Henning Blue Devil Samantha Siddens.
“She also had her best game of the year,” Bent said. “ Samantha doesn’t do a ton of things that jump off the stat sheet at you, but she has been invaluable to our success. She plays multiple positions and does a lot of things well.”
The Jaguars return to action Wednesday at Lincoln and play their final home game next Saturday at 2 p.m. against Lincoln Land.