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Lady Tigers fall to Highland

McKenzie’s Kami Shufford fights for possession of a loose ball during the Lady Tigers’ 55-33 loss to Highland Home.

McKenzie’s Kami Shufford fights for possession of a loose ball during the Lady Tigers’ 55-33 loss to Highland Home.

What began as a tug-of-war between the Highland Home and McKenzie girls varsity teams eventually became an uphill battle for the latter as the Flying Squadron flew away with a 55-33 win over the Lady Tigers.

Though the Lady Tigers trailed for much of the opening minutes, excellent outside shooting from guards Paige Odom and Kami Shufford, combined with the speed and driving power of Xandria Maye, kept McKenzie aloft in the second.

A much-needed 3-pointer from Odom proved a shot in the arm for the Lady Tigers’ offense at the top of the quarter and cut a double-digit deficit to 7.

The lead continued to dwindle to just 5 points, but early foul trouble from Maye allowed the Squadron to regain a healthy 14-point lead to close out the first half.

The third quarter was more of the same for Highland Home, thanks largely to a dominating presence in the post.  The Squadron controlled the offensive and defensive boards early and often, giving Highland second-chance, and frequently, third-chance opportunities to extend the already substantial lead.

Another pair of clutch 3-pointers from Odom brought the Lady Tigers back from the brink, and an intensified McKenzie defense forced a number of poor passes, but the wind was knocked out of the Lady Tigers’ sails again as Maye went down awkwardly at the close of the third.

Though she made a valiant return in the fourth, the hill was too steep to climb.

The Lady Tigers will host Kinston Thursday at home.