BENTON – In a battle that could ultimately decide the District 1-4A race, No. 5 Minden slid past Benton 61-47 Friday night thanks to some deadly 3-point shooting from sophomore Bre Rogers.
The Lady Tiders (18-2, 2-0 in 1-4A) won their 13th consecutive game, something coach Jacob Brown reluctantly pointed out, and haven’t lost since falling to Captain Shreve in the Haughton Tournament finals around Thanksgiving.
“I hate to talk about the streak, but we are doing some good things right now,” Brown said. “We had our moments tonight where we rebounded very well and we were able to keep their two best players wrapped up to a degree.”
Rogers, who causes opponents problems on the defensive front, nailed five 3-pointers on her way to a 23-point night, while getting some solid support from Straw Batton, who finished with 22.
“Our game plan was we were going to go out there and play hard. And if they left us open we’d take good shots,” Rogers said. “They left me open so I just shot the ball.”
The Lady Tiders were dominant after a low-scoring first quarter that saw the visitors in front 9-6 as both teams worked out their shooting jitters. Rogers had a 3-pointer to open the game and another to open the second quarter that sparked a 10-2 Minden run putting the Lady Tiders in front 19-8.
Benton sophomore Emily Ward (19 points) stopped the onslaught with a putback under the bucket with two minutes to play in the half. But miscues and ball handling killed the Lady Tigers (12-11, 1-1).
“The turnovers were the difference and you can’t turn the ball over like we did against a good team like Minden and expect to win,” Benton coach Mary Ward said. “We will focus on cutting that down and working on our offense in practice next week.”
Minden led by 12 points to open the second half after a layup by Rogers, but the Lady Tigers launched a 13-3 run to get within 32-30 with 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter. But the Lady Tiders scored the last six points of the frame and Batton took charge in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Rogers’ 3-pointer with about three minutes to play made it a 50-34 deficit.
“Bre can impact a game in so many ways – shooting from the perimeter, rebounding, shooting free throws and her length creates transition buckets for us on turnovers,” Brown said. “She keeps steadily improving.”