The Americus Times-Recorder
Team leadership is one of the hardest things to find from players at the high school level. Leadership can push a team to achieve more success than they thought was possible, and a lack of leadership can cause turmoil and friction that can drive teammates apart. On Friday night, the Marion County Lady Eagles saw one of their youngest players take on a leadership role in one of their biggest region games of the season as sophomore forward Aisha Ansley scored an incredible 37 points and also pulled down a team-leading 16 rebounds to lead her team to a hard-fought 79-71 over Greenville High School in a pivotal Region 4-A contest.
Ansley and the Lady Eagles started the night off hot with a 29 point first period, but a slow second period allowed Greenville to get back into the game, trailing by only two points, 38-36, as the teams entered the halftime break.
The Lady Eagles knew that no lead is safe, especially against the very tough Lady Patriots of Greenville. After exiting the halftime break, Marion County began to stretch their lead and at the end of the third period a 20-13 run would help them spread their advantage to nine points entering the final period. Although the Lady Eagles would give up 22 points in the final quarter, they would also score 21 points of their own to claim a 79-71 win and tally another impressive region victory.
It is safe to say that Ansley’s huge night was one of the biggest reasons that the Lady Eagles were able to claim the tough victory. Her career-high 37 points were nearly half of Marion County’s 79 total points. Ansley was not the only Lady Eagle to finish the night with a double-double, however, as junior Chelsy Haynes scored 17 points and gathered in 12 rebounds to score her own double-double. Junior Jada Gardner was the only other Lady Eagle to finish the night with double-digit points after scoring 15 points in the win.
Lady Eagle head coach Dwanna Carter was very proud of all her Lady Eagles, and she knew that one player could make a difference in the game. “It was important that one of our starters have a stellar performance. Not just average, but beyond average. Aisha did not let us down. She was all over the boards and offensively she was in the right place at the right time all night long,” said Carter.
Following the huge win by the Lady Eagles, the Marion County boys took the floor to go for the sweep. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the night would not be in their favor. After four periods of intense, back-and-fourth action, the Eagles dropped a 70-66 decision to fall to their Region 4-A opponent in the important late-season match-up.
Marion County will return to the courts at home tonight for another tough region contest. This time, the Hawkinsville Red Devils and Lady Red Devils will come calling with the girl’s game starting at 6 p.m. and the boy’s game following at approximately 7:30 p.m.