Decatur girls basketball defeats Lynnwood Royals

Fianl score of the Monday night game was 59-49.

A packed and rowdy Decatur crowd funneled inside the Gator Dome for the final girls basketball game before winter break against the Lynnwood Royals on Dec. 19. The Gators defeated the Royals by a score of 59-49.

Entering the contest, Decatur had a 6-2 record and was coming off of that second loss against Sumner on Dec. 17.

“We’re feeling good, both losses made us hungry. But it’s all about progression and getting better every game,” said Gator Head Coach Elon Langston.

A crowd primed from a JV overtime victory brought the noise for the Gators. That energy was also brought on the court; Decatur jumped out to an early 13-5 lead in the first quarter. The second quarter was much of the same with Decatur leading by as much as 18 points early in that quarter. The half ended with the Gators up 14, the score 29-15. The Gators were able to play aggressive defense and have quality offense which helped them build the lead.

“Defensive energy is big with us, that’s our culture. And we were just taking our time on offense,” said Langston.

In the third quarter, the Royals came alive, closing the gap that was at one moment 18 points, down to six points. It was the closest Lynnwood had been since the opening moments of the game.

“We stopped doing everything that we did in the first half, our defense fell off,” Langston said.

Langston took a pivotal timeout in that third quarter, and after which the Gators were able to stop the bleeding.

His message to the girls during that time out was simple: “Never worry, we’ve been here before … Stay strong, stay solid.”

A clutch lay-up from senior Jewel Young, and a huge three-pointer from Mandi Pham settled the Gators down. Pham is in her senior year and said she didn’t panic in crunch time.

“We just gotta stay true to what we do at practice,” she said. “We are ready for these moments.”

The third quarter ended with a 12-point Gator lead, 44-32. A lead that they would not relinquish the entire fourth quarter. The Gators are a team littered with veterans intermixed with a few freshmen on the roster.

“They are just so helpful, not only to play with on the court, mentally they are also supportive,” said Pham on her other leaders on the team. “We are ready to go in the next half of the season.”

The Gators next game out of winter break is on Jan. 5 at home against Auburn Mountainview.