Dyer leads against Moore Co.
On a night when the spotlights were white hot and the stage never bigger for the top-ranked McKenzie Lady Rebels, a senior stepped forward and basked in the glow.
Senior guard Dani Dyer essentially took over her team’s substate contest with visiting Moore County in the second half, leading the Lady Rebels to a 63-50 victory.
Dyer had 18 points and gave her team a lift when other Lady Rebels struggled against the Raiderettes’ zone defense. She made her last appearance on her home floor count.
As a result, McKenzie’s girls earned their first berth in the state tournament since 1963. Former McKenzie mayor Patty Edwards was the star of that Rebelette team.
McKenzie, 28-2, will face North Greene at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, March 10 at the Murphy Center, located on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University. North Greene, 25-10, defeated Oneida 55-41 in its section matchup.
McKenzie trailed 33-30 at the half, but quickly tied the game on Kylie Reynolds ‘ triple to start the third.
From there, Dyer drove to the bucket and scored six third-quarter points to lift the Lady Rebels to a 44-41 lead going into the final period.
Briley Auvenshine lit the fuse to start the third, followed by four straight points from Dyer. The Lady Rebels built a 50-41 lead that was by no means safe.
Moore County’s Richards connected to draw within six, 52-46, with just under three to go. From there, the Lady Rebels played keep-away and went to work at the foul line. After a frosty 1-4 clip at the line in the first half, McKenzie found its range and went 15-20 from the stripe in the second half.
McKenzie outscored the Raiderettes 11-4 in the final 3:30 to stamp its ticket to the ‘Boro.
Mikaela Reynolds had a great night, too, scoring 15 points. She catalyzed the Lady Rebels with three first-half triples and had 11 points at the break. Moore County led 16-15 after one and 33-30 at the half. The Lady Rebels struggled to get back on defense early and, at times, lacked intensity, perhaps a byproduct of nerves.
Savannah Davis had an uncharacteristic night, scoring only nine points, but she rebounded well and worked the offense.
Kylie Reynolds scored 12 while Auvenshine added nine.
Olivia Richards scored 16 to lead Moore County. She had her team’s only three. Olivia Brasier added 15. Moore County ends its season at 22-11.
McKenzie will be joined by a healthy contingent of West Tennessee team’s at state later this week. Dresden and Gleason will join McKenzie among the Class A ranks while Westview and Gibson County punched their tickets in 2A.