Rutland girls basketball head coach Johnny Dixon subscribes to the theory that it’s not where you start but where you finish that’s important.
When his Lady Canes took the floor to open their game against Perry on Tuesday, guard Adriaunna Brown was not among the starting five.
When asked why, Dixon smiled and said he’d rather not comment. Brown, however, had plenty to say about how a five-point game at the break played out in the second half.
The guard came off the bench to score 10 points in the final two quarters as Rutland pulled away from Perry for a 40-20 victory.
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“(Brown) can speed the game up for us,” Dixon said. “We were kind of sluggish in the first half and she gave us a spark.”
Brown scored three fast-break layups off steals as the Lady Canes (11-8, 10-5 GHSA Region 2-AAA) used a 21-6 run that spanned the third and most of the fourth quarters to top the Lady Panthers (8-14, 5-10).
Jalana Cayler scored a game-high 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. She also recorded three blocks, two steals and made 7-of-8 free throws.
“(Cayler) is getting better every game at the free-throw line,” Dixon said. “She has really improved her footwork. She’s running the floor better than she has all year.”
Perry was led by Jasmine Davis’ 12 points, including two 3-pointers.
In the boys game, Marquez Thomas scored 22 points as Perry defeated Rutland 82-74.
The fourth quarter featured 12 lead changes before Mark Riley’s jumper with a minute remaining put the Panthers (9-13, 4-11) ahead for good.
Rutland held a 32-31 lead at the half before the teams combined for 50 points in a spectacular third quarter.
Jaylon Tyson led Rutland (5-13, 4-9) with a game-high 24 points. Darren Tucker added 16 for the Hurricanes, who made seven 3-pointers.
Deonte Solomon scored 18 points for the Panthers, while all of Jikeriel Harris’ 10 points came in the second half.