Louisville wins Nanih Waiya Invitational
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 30, 2001
NANIH WAIYA When teammate Latasha Hickman went down with a knee injury before the season began, Louisville sophomore Dee Forrest became the "center" of attention for the Lady Wildcats.
Saturday night in the championship game of the first-ever Nanih Waiya Girls' Christmas Invitational Tournament, Forrest and her teammates took full advantage of a significant height advantage to down Newton County.
Forrest put up game-highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds, and Louisville led all but 19 seconds of its 58-39 title win over the Lady Cougars.
Saturday's other games at Nanih Waiya had Union beating the host Lady Warriors 49-40, while Kemper County topped Noxapater 63-52 and Weir beat Montgomery County 49-40.
Newton County 39
The Lady Wildcats already had a commanding height advantage at every position over the Lady Cougars, but it became even more obvious with the absence of Newton County post player Yolanda Johnson the team's leading rebounder.
The result was a 41-24 edge on the glass for Louisville, which coasted to the victory despite turning the ball over 30 times.
That pressure didn't matter early, when Forrest scored nine points in the Lady Wildcats' 17-6 run to start the contest.
But it became a factor in the opening minutes of the second quarter, when Newton County got a 3-pointer from Kristen Hedrick and a steal and jumper from Kristin Chaney to spark a 12-0 run that gave the Lady Cougars their only lead of the game 18-17 with 5:53 on the clock.
The momentum didn't stay in the favor of the Lady Cougars for long, however, as Louisville got it to Forrest down low at the other end for an old-fashioned three-point play. That was the start of six straight points for the Lady Wildcats, who took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
A 7-0 run midway through the third quarter pushed Louisville's lead to double digits, and the Lady Wildcats carried a 44-30 advantage into the fourth period.
There, a putback and two free throws by Newton County's Joy Cavenaugh pulled the Lady Cougars within 44-34 with 6:36 remaining, but Louisville scored 12 of the game's next 14 points to improve to 13-7 on the season.
Forrest, who was supposed to be a complement to Latasha Hickman in the paint this season, added three blocked shots to her 27-point, 12-rebound performance despite drawing as many as four defenders at times.
Brittany Triplett added 10 points, 11 rebounds and three assists for the Lady Wildcats, while Kim Mullins had eight points and six rebounds, Erica Hardin had six points and four steals and Brandi Nicholson dished out five assists.
Hedrick scored all 15 of her team-high points in the first half for Newton County, while Dominique Mapp had seven points, six rebounds and four assists. Chaney scored just two points, but had an incredible 13 steals and four assists.