Star City pulls away for 4A South crown

Star City pulls away for 4A South crown

By Chan Davis


DUMAS — Star City put the finishing touches on the Class 4A South Regional tournament with a 42-33 win over Pulaski Academy in Saturday’s title game.

Juquecia Chaney scored 15 points and Octavian Reedy and Tyeshia Harris added nine apiece as Star City improved to 29-1 and snapped a 24-game winning streak by the Lady Bruins.

Star City reached the title game with defense and took no different approach against PA. The Lady Dogs limited Bauxite to 32 points in the opener and held Malvern to 34 in the semifinal round, finishing the regionals allowing 33 points per game.

In a back-and-forth game where possessions were at a premium and every trip down the floor meant something, the Lady Dogs were fierce late, minimizing PA’s chances to score.

“Defense wins basketball games and is going to win us a championship ring,” Reedy said. “That’s what we have over most teams. Defense is the key to winning. If we have defense, we can bring the offense.”

Pulaski Academy led 8-4 after a slow-moving first period and held a 26-22 advantage heading into the final stanza, backed by a half-court buzzer beater by Ashley Eisenhauer. But Star City’s 11-of-14 performance at the free throw line in the fourth was enough to keep the Lady Bruins at bay.

Reedy was 5-of-6 from the stripe while Chaney connected on 4-of-5 attempts.

“People really doubted us, telling us we can’t make it,” Reedy said. “So everyday in practice we hustle. We live and breathe basketball. And if we don’t hustle in practice, we punish ourselves by running so we can get up and down the floor better in games.”

Once with the lead, Star City slowed the tempo of the game, forcing PA to defend the perimeter and opening up passing lanes to the basket.

“Once we got the lead, we were going to pull them out,” Star City coach Becky Brown said. “We were going to pull them out of the lane and open some space to drive it in, which creates fouls. As soon as they came out on us, we knew we could take them to the basket. And that’s trips to the free throw line.”

Missing only three shots from the charity stripe prevented PA, now 26-5, from making a late charge. “That was big for us,” Brown said. Chaney put Star City on top 27-26 with a hoop and harm with 6:40 remaining. But PA answered with an India Wilson layup at 4:25, and the Lady Dogs counter-punched at the 4:03 mark when Chaney scored on a layup off a turnover.

The Lady Dogs would not trail again in a game that saw five ties and 14 lead changes.

“I really like the close-scoring game,” PA coach Rick Treadwell said. “I like it when it’s two points.”

A two-point 32-30 lead at the 1:50 mark crept to 35-30 on Chaney’s free throws. Reedy netted four more to bury the Lady Bruins with 30 seconds left.

Star City’s lone field goals of the final period were bookend baskets. Harris opened the fourth with a short jumper and Olydia Thornton closed the scoring with a meaningless bucket in the waning seconds.

PA’s Wilson fouled out with 3:30 to go, leading the team in scoring with eight points.

“I thought when she fouled out, ‘That’s going to hurt big time’,” Treadwell said. “They are so quick on defense that it’s hard to get to the basket. She was our option; I think we could have beat them with her in the game.”

The Lady Dogs will advance to the 4A state tournament as a No. 1 seed.