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BRONSON –For senior night, Bronson girls basketball head coach Greg Hamilton got a special present – his team at full strength. Due to one thing or another – illness, injury, holidays – he's never had a full complement on the floor, during this, one of the Lady Eagles' best years.
On Friday, his team beat Cedar Key 46-21 with a full crew, and what a crew it was.
Junior forward Elizabeth Gay was joined in the forecourt by freshman Nyisha Williams, and they ran the "Twin Towers" all game long. Jessica Thomas also added five points in the early explosion. The Eagles ran up a 15-4 lead on their guests, before Hamilton emptied the bench in the second quarter.
"We had an opportunity to play a lot of people and do some experimenting," he said.
Cedar Key got more aggressive in the second quarter, sending everyone into the lane and getting to the line. Kacey Miller had three points to lead the offense in the second quarter. The Sharks' defenders increased their efforts, as Deanna Littlefield blocked a shot and helped hold Bronson's offense to six points on the quarter.
From 21-8 Bronson at the half, the Eagles exploded again in the third quarter. Williams and Gay were again the two-headed monster down low, with Gay scoring on inside drop-offs and Williams putting back rebounds.
Senior Angel Mitchem had a three off the left wing and Jessica Smith scored off the fast break. Ciera Elton rebounded for two. Cedar Key hustled hard, but only Miller and Molly Gordon were able to get shots to fall in the third.
With the game in hand, Bronson again felt free to experiment in the fourth, while Cedar Key redoubled their efforts to make up the 37-12 deficit. Miller started the Sharks off with two good free throws, then did it again a moment later. Lindsay Edmunds also drove inside and got a free throw for her trouble, and Caely Hibbits had a baby jumper for two.
Nevertheless, nothing the Sharks did defensively could stop Williams and Gay from getting their points.
"You don't see a pair of bigs like that, even at some 5A schools," conceded Cedar Key head coach Chris Cowart. "When you can create that kind of kind of mismatch, of course you're going to pound it inside as much as possible."
Hamilton was pleased with his forecourt, but also very proud of the lone senior in the backcourt.
"Angel Mitchem has her name on the banner. She's one of the few that can say that," he said, referring to the Eagles' district runner-up finish in 2006, her sophomore year. "Her love of basketball has been evident all through her high school career."