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Lady Eagles cruise past Bell

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By Sean Arnold

Led by a suffocating defense that allowed just seven points in the first half, the Bronson girls’ basketball team soared to 49-26 win over Bell at home Dec. 7.

The victory improved the Lady Eagles to 2-1 in District 1A-7, and 3-2 overall. They advanced to 4-2 (and 3-1) in a win over Cedar Key Dec. 12.

Junior point guard Yelena Thomas led Bronson against the Bulldogs with a double-double behind 20 points and 19 steals, as her team jumped out to a 22-0 advantage in the opening quarter. Fellow junior Eagle Tamia Haynes also notched a double-double at 12 points and 11 boards.

Thomas was 3 for 7 from 3-point range versus Bell, and is 22 for 35 (63 percent) on free throws for the season. The junior boasted at least 16 points in all of the team’s first five games.

The win allowed Bronson to work on its half-court offense and situational play as well as yielding playing time for younger players.

“We’ve got to know when to take our foot off the gas, start playing a little smarter,” Coach Rodney Thomas said. “It’s not always going to be the one track – the terrain’s going to change up a little here and there, so we’ve got to have our right wheels on for the right terrain.”

On Dec. 5, the BMHS girls surrendered an early lead against Branford in a 56-43 loss. Thomas scored 22 points, while Taeya Mayes, the Lady Eagles’ lone senior, chipped in 12 points. Haynes led on the boards again with seven rebounds, and freshman Keyera Hutto went 5 for 6 at the foul line for Bronson.

The Buccaneers were on a five-game winning streak heading into their Dec. 14 meeting with Dixie County. That span included three double-digit wins over district opponents, including Bronson and Chiefland.

“Branford is real disciplined,” Thomas said. “We definitely did not play our best.”

Bronson is next at Hawthorne Dec. 15, and then competes in a holiday tournament at Wildwood Dec. 19 and Dec. 20.

“We’ve been able to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish with the new girls,” said Thomas, who is also pleased with his team’s physical play, knowing he has an undersized, guard-led squad. “They’re not afraid to get in there. That’s one of the things we were missing around here is the aggression. We complain a lot about being hit.”