Considering Brighton was coming off three straight wins, including an impressive district win at Dyer County last Friday, the Lady Cardinals were considered the favorite in their league matchup at home against Munford Tuesday night.
It didn’t look like it, though.
Munford stayed in a 2-3 zone that frustrated Brighton the entire game and built an early lead en route to a 43-36 victory, Munford’s first league win.
Foul trouble was also a factor as Brighton’s two leading scorers – Sylvia Jones and Albanie Dunn – eventually fouled out.
“If there’s something I could say, we were pretty patient on offense,” Munford head coach Steve Poindexter said. “We knew if we could get in certain situations we could have some advantages getting to the rim and putting people in places to knock down shots. Gabby Lincoln had a big night and made shots at the right time when we really needed it.”
Lincoln hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter and another in the third, both of which increased Munford’s lead. The second put Munford ahead 27-22 with 4:20 left in the third quarter. Munford’s biggest lead came early in the second quarter at 18-10.
Brighton (13-5, 2-1) got a 3-pointer from Dunn with 5:17 left in the game to go ahead 34-31, its first lead since the game’s opening moments. Munford (10-9, 1-2) responded well, however, finishing the game with a 12-2 run.
“I told them if we play like we did yesterday (Brighton beat Kenwood 48-26), we’re going to get beat, and that’s exactly what happened,” Brighton coach Stan Gatlin said. “Our guards are not doing a good job of defending. They played with no heart, no energy, like we didn’t care defensively. By the time we cared it was too late because we were down in a hole. My seniors did not lead tonight.”
Munford made 14 of its 18 free throws, including 8 of 8 in the first quarter. Mary Richardson made 5 of 6 and finished with nine points.
“I think we worked really hard on defense,” said Richardson. “I think that got us the win. I’ve been working on free throws in practice and I think that really helped.”
Maiya Reed led Munford with 19 points, including six big ones in the fourth quarter.
“Reed showed what kind of leader she was,” Poindexter said. “She kept attacking and putting people in positions to score. Mary made some free throws tonight, which was big.”
DeMiyah Gatlin led Brighton with 14 points.
Brighton plays first-place Hardin County in league play on Friday and Munford takes on Liberty. Both teams could be tied for second if those games go as expected.
“That was our first quality win in two seasons,” Poindexter said. “If we’re going to compete for the district or anything like that, you’ve got to start beating some good teams. I think Brighton is definitely a good team. I’m very proud of our kids, but we still have a lot to learn. I thought we finished the game really well.”