By JEFF PHILLIPS
On a cool Wednesday evening in Dublin’s Middle School gym the Lady Dukes were anything but cold on the court after a long holiday break.
The Dublin girls gave a 2-0 lead to the visiting Floyd County team at the starting line, but that was the end of “nice” for the evening. The 19-0 Lady Dukes were on a roll headed for a 20 win season and no one was going to stop that from happening.
In addition this was this group’s final home game in the old Dublin Gym. Their last time to wear the blue and white uniforms that have graced so many great athletes before them. It was “Senior Night” for the eighth grade basketball team members and the cheerleaders as well. Nothing was going to stop the Lady Dukes from delivering a final home win to their Coach, their community leader, and a local athletic legend Buddy Farris.
A drag race recap and scoring by game quarters is a fair assessment and analogy of the overall game. First quarter and first gear gets you to 17-6. Second quarter and second gear rolls it up to 29-9, and the third quarter and third gear lays down a hot 38-11 score. Put it to the floor and into overdrive, and the fourth quarter and fourth gear finds a scorching 54-11 at the line.
Readers may want to note that the now well known Dublin defense held the Floyd team to only two (2) points in the entire second half of the contest, along with no points in the fourth quarter.
The front court tandem of Alexis Phillips and Mac Phillips completely shut down the inside game for Floyd, while the back court threesome of Taylor Dickerson, Tyanna Haynes, and Amiah Stables repeatedly stole the ball and drove for layups.
Well before half time was reached, and after building an acceptable lead, Dublin coaches Farris and Jackie Artison made key substitutions beginning with Leah Lowe and followed shortly by Victoria Goad, Kayla Brown, Alicia Noble, and Shaye Somervell.
Nothing changed, more stinging defense for the Floyd visitors and more Duke scoring.
The second half saw the Dublin starters return, and their play was even more precise and more beautiful to watch than in the first half. The Lady Dukes defense imposed a “no score zone” on the Floyd Buffalo offense, and that was the end of that side of the score keeper’s table for the evening.
The fourth quarter saw all of Dublin’s players enter the game at one point or the other, adding Hailey Quesenberry, Drea Hodge, and Carley Hedge to the mix. The results remained the same, no points for Floyd in the fourth quarter.
Simply put, it was a very well balanced scoring and defensive effort by the entire Dublin team. The Duke back court’s Amiah Stables and the front court’s Alexis Phillips led all scoring with both players scoring at will. Each posted numbers too gaudy to print, especially when you consider the short playing time limits at this level of play. The fast break worked. The passing was the best this year, and the rebounding and blocked shots were bone jarring and convincing. The defense was smothering, but most evident of all this was a well oiled TEAM EFFORT.
Each and every Dublin player contributed their best attribute and skill in this game and their team mates concealed their few weaknesses. Just the way it should be, just what a coach works for, and just what a fan or student of the game wants to see.
The evening’s proceedings included a presentation of the Dublin Middle School’s “senior class.” The eighth grade team members from the Dukes, Lady Dukes, and Dublin cheerleading squads were each individually presented at center court to the fans in attendance, accompanied by their parents and guardians. Each individual representative received flowers, hand shake, and a hug from their coaches, as well as considerable applause from their friends, relatives, and fans. All present had worked hard and long hours for these brief moments of reward and recognition. It was a beautiful moment and a grand evening at the old Dublin gym.
The final event for the evening was truly special and a bit of a tear jerker. At game’s end the Lady Duke senior girls cornered Coach Farris near the main entry of the gym and then proceeded to read a short set of verses via the gym’s PA to their special Coach. Each player had composed an essay on “What Coach Farris means to me”.
The descriptive adjectives delivered by the young ladies ranged from the humorous “scared me at first, yells a lot, runs a lot, thought he hated me” and ended with the sincere “religious, a friend, a mentor, a real coach, best coach, team builder, kind, good, fun, and best person I have ever known”. All ended with “love him” and “thank you”. There weren’t many dry eyes at this point.
In summary the Dublin Lady Dukes are presently undefeated and sport a seldom seen 20 and 0 basketball record. They have two away contests remaining. The first is against Pulaski Middle on Jan. 16, and a makeup game with Carroll County on Jan. 22. Best wishes to Coach Farris and the 2013-2014 Dublin Lady Dukes. Thanks so very much for some very enjoyable evenings and great memories in Dublin Duke and Pulaski County sports.