By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
When Summit gets the ball inside, it’s tough to beat. Tuesday was one of the nights it couldn’t be stopped.
Senior guard Zacharyia Esmon scored 21 points, leading the Lady Spartans to their third straight win in a 56-33 victory at Independence.
“We’ve got a lot of athletic girls that are able to sprint the floor pretty quick and get those looks inside,” Summit coach Kari Goodwin said. “And that’s kind of been our key lately, just getting the ball inside the paint. High-percentage shots and that’s what we look for.”
The Lady Spartans (8-9, 3-1 District 11-AAA) jumped out to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter and the Lady Eagles (5-12, 0-5) never recovered.
“Getting off to a good start is very important, especially when you’re playing a team like that,” Esmon said.
Walters State has shown interest in Esmon.
“Z can run the floor, she can take you off the dribble, she can shoot outside, so she’s kind of a triple threat,” Goodwin said. “But tonight we told her, “You’ve got to get down the floor and create your own shot off the dribble.’”
Independence suffered its fifth straight loss.
“We don’t shoot the ball well,” Lady Eagles coach Mary Beth White said. “We gave up a lot offensive rebounds. Unofficially, we missed, like, 20 layups. You can’t beat anybody missing 20 layups.”
Ellen Nicks led Independence with a season-high 18 points.
“We’ve been struggling lately with shots trying to fall and I think that tonight we turned the ball over too much,” Nicks said. “So, I just think we’ve got to start taking care of the ball better and keep knocking down shots. We’ve just got to get in the gym and keep putting up shots.”
Summit remains third in the district behind Dickson County (17-5, 6-0) and Franklin (12-5, 4-1).
Independence is still tied for last with Brentwood (4-13, 0-5) in the seven-team league.
“We’ve got eight kids out there that are freshmen and sophomores,” White said of her 12-player roster. “A couple freshmen played a whole lot of minutes.
“We played Dickson County a week ago and held them to 34 points, and they’re usually mid-50s average. But we shoot 12 percent. We don’t put the ball in the hole enough.”
Summit visits Dickson County on Friday.
Independence visits Franklin on Friday.