Hiwassee Dam's Jessica Beckner (right) aggressively defends North Moore's Te'AAsia Lilly in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday at Hiwassee Dam. Photo by RYAN REVOCK/rrevock@cherokeescout.com

Hiwassee Dam girls roll to first-round win

   Hiwassee Dam -- It didn’t take long for No. 1 seed Hiwassee Dam to make their first-round game with North Moore a one-sided affair Tuesday night.

   Hiwassee Dam never trailed after Jessica Beckner scored the first bucket of the game on an and-1 combo just 13-seconds in. Four starters went on to amass double figures, while a ruthless Lady Eagle defense held a visibly winded Mustangs squad to just six points in the second half to cruise into the second round with an 86-29 victory.

   That puts Hiwassee Dam back in the second round for a matchup with No. 16 seed West Montgomery (14-7) at 6 p.m. Thursday.

   The Lady Eagles took advantage of North Moore’s tight interior look and let it fly from beyond the arc, knocking down seven 3’s – four from scoring leader Zoey Jacobsen (5-of-9 from 3) – to catapult to a 17-point lead by the end of the opening quarter.

   The Lady Eagles also dominated the boards in the first half, out-rebounding the Mustangs 17-5 and totaled 34 rebounds for the game, 18 on the defensive side.

   Coach Ray Gutierrez was particularly impressed with their defensive opportunism, something that he feels will determine their success in this year’s playoffs. Senior Kati Estep (3 steals) led a defense that generated 18 steals for the contest. 

   “We knew going into it, they didn’t have very much depth, so our gameplan was to wear them down, apply as much pressure over the course of the game as we can,” Gutierrez said.

   “First quarter, 30-13, a high scoring game for us. So I think after that, defensively, what can you say? We only gave up six points all second half. ... So that’s what we told the girls who we are, we just gotta make sure to defend.”

   Jacobsen (3 assists) went on to clock out with 19 points. Senior Haylie Shope (13 points, 2 steals) and Jessica Becker (12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) combined for 12 boards, while senior Kameron Forrister (4 points) dished out six of the Eagles 20 assists.

North Moore       13 10  0   6  – 29

Hiwassee Dam   30 22 21 15 – 86

HD: Jacobsen 19, Shope 13, Beckner 12, Floyd 11, Wills 8, Estep 7, Sena 6, Forrister 4, Davis 2, Moore 2, Raper 2.

NM: Lilly 9, Salzwedel 8, Davis 8, Garner 2.