Lady Jr. Bucs capsized by T.A. Dugger

Photo by John Bryant
T.A. Dugger’s Mariah Pietrowski attempts to knock the ball from Danika Collins of University School.

By Don Teague
STAR Staff

  Coach Angie Barker's T.A. Dugger girls basketball squad broke into the win column Tuesday evening with a 40-25 victory over previously unbeaten University School at the Dugger gym, evening their early-season record at one win and one loss.
  The Lady Jr. Cyclones came out out of blocks quickly, with 6' post player Mariah Pietrowski scoring the game's first six points on three buckets in the first minute-and-half of play.
  Pietrowski and her teammates played excellent defense for the entire first quarter, with big No. 52 pulling down several rebounds, and Taylor Belessa and Madisson Barnett putting pressure on Lady Jr. Buc ballhandlers, resulting in several steals and turnovers.
  Belessa and Barnett also chipped in four points apiece in the first period, countered by four from Stephanie Davenport of University School, and the first quarter ended with T.A. Dugger on top by a score of 13-5.
  The Cyclone guards were caught off guard when the Lady Bucs changed to a 1-2-2 zone to begin the second quarter, so Coach Barker called a timeout to help her troops adjust, getting immediate results when her team went back out on the floor and scored at the 4:31 mark on an inbounds pass under the bucket to Pietrowski, who scored again a minute later to put her team ahead 17-5.
  Both teams played hard, physical defense for the remainder of the first half, forcing each other into turnovers and resulting in numerous fouls and trips to the foul line.
  University School missed numerous opportunities from the charity stripe, making only two of 13 fouls shots in the first half, and it went to bench trailing the Lady Cyclones 22-8 at the break.
  Dugger's Lauren Taylor picked up her game in the third quarter, hitting two free throws and scoring two buckets to lead the Cyclones to a commanding 30-12 lead with 2:24 left to play in the period.
  Barker then put in five players off her bench who held their own against the Bucs, swapping baskets with them over the remainder of the quarter, which ended 32-14.
  The Cyclone coach continued with her subs and only two starters to start the final period, getting buckets from Pietrowski and Kadie Robinson to up the score to 34-17 with 2:44 left to play.
  Barker then put in several subs, and they had to contend with a late game push from the Lady Bucs of Coach Treda Anderson, who refused to roll over and play dead.
  University School upped its fullcourt defensive pressure over the last few minutes of play, resulting in several Lady Cyclone turnovers and Lady Buc drives to the bucket.
  The Dugger lead was cut to 13, 38-25, then Barnett closed out the game's scoring with two free throws with :25 left on the clock.
  T.A. Dugger was led in scoring by Mariah Pietrowski's 12 points. Pietrowski, who had a fine overall game with many rebounds and several assists to complement her scoring, is the younger sister of 6-2 Elizabethton Lady Cyclone Michaela Pietrowski.
  University School was led by Stephanie Davenport's 11 points.
  Coach Barker complimented the efforts of both squads, observing, "We hustled a lot, but so did they. They gave it everything they had, and that defense (the 1-2-2) gave us some trouble."
  The coach then allowed herself a smile as she conceded that the first win of the young season "felt good." Her Lady Cyclones return to action at home Thursday night versus Bluff City.
  Coach Pam Norris also saw her Jr. Cyclones grab that first victory with a convincing 33-12 win over the University School JV's.
  The Cyclones played excellent team ball on both ends of the court, holding the Bucs to only seven points in the final three quarters of play while getting scoring from several players on offense, led by Robinson, Jasmine Jefferson and Lacey Reed with six points apiece. The Dugger JV's are now 1-1on the season.