2nd Annual Champion Classic: Lady Tigers Start the Season 1-1.
In the 2nd annual Champion Classic, the Champion Christian College Lady Tigers were able to split their games this weekend to start the year 1-1.
Starting with the home opener Friday night against NAIA Bacone College, your Lady Tigers were able to pull away with an 88-56 win. Following with Saturday night's game, the Lady Tigers found themselves in a shooting slump against the NAIA: Arkansas Baptist Buffaloes, 76-61. In the 1st half of Friday's match against Bacone, the Lady Tigers really put in work on the defensive end. The Lady Tigers' defense only allowed 24 points in the half: 9 points in the 1st quarter and 15 in the 2nd.
Going into the second half, the Lady Tigers struggled to find their defense allowing the NAIA Bacone to score 23 points in the 3rd quarter. Though the Lady Tigers struggled with defending, they still out scored Bacone by 2 points with scoring 25 in the 3rd keeping the lead. Moving into the 4th quarter, the Lady Tigers picked back up their rhythm defensively only allowing 9 points in the 4th quarter. Champion’s Lady Tigers opened up with their 1st win of the season 88 to 56. Champion finished inside making almost 40% of their shots and just shy of 26% of their 3's, but their defense is really what kept them in it. The Lady Tigers were led by returner Justys Irish-Holmes with 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Irish-Holmes shot 70% for the night with 5 of 6 shots from 3.
More Lady Tigers contributed to the win:
Returner Alysia Pickett had 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, and 13 points. Transfers Kamryn Gentry and Tori Hayes made their presence known. Gentry contributed a double-double at 15 rebounds and 15 points, with 4 steals and 1 block. Then Hayes also chimed in with 13 points and 2 steals. Finally, leading with assists on the night for the Lady Tigers, returner Aaliyiah Clark added 11 points and 4 assists.
In the second day of the Champion Classic, the Tigers took on NAIA Arkansas Baptist College.
Playing against a completely different ABC from last season (Lady Tigers winning 81 to 45 in the 2021-22 season), the Lady Tigers didn’t come out ready defensively or offensively and it showed from the jump. Champion was held to only 12 points in the 1st quarter and allowed Arkansas Baptist to score 21 points. Waking up and locking in on defense in the 2nd quarter, Spa City’s Lady Tigers held Arkansas Baptist to only 14 points. Even with great defensive efforts in the 2nd quarter, Champion was still in a shooting slump only scoring 16 points and finishing the 1st half only down by 7.
Knowing what to expect coming out into the second half, Champion came out focused on the offensive end finishing the 3rd quarter with 24 points. Arkansas Baptist answered back just shy of that with 21 points. Much like the 1st quarter, the Tigers struggled on the offensive end. After trading buckets back and forth in the 3rd, ABC went on a big run to stretch in 4th and finished with the momentum: out-scoring Champion by 11 points (2-3 from the 3, 4-8 from the charity stripe, and 7-20 from the field). Champion couldn’t answer back: only going 2-15 from the field, 1-8 from the 3, and 4-6 from the freethrow.
The Lady Tigers fell by 15 points to the NAIA, 76-61.
Justys Irish- Holmes led the Lady Tigers with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Kamryn Gentry was a monster on the boards with 22 rebounds. Gentry finished with another double-double, 13 points and 22 rebounds with 3 blocks and 1 steal. Aaliyiah Clark added 11 points and 3 rebounds. Alysia Pickett also contributed 10 points and 2 steals.
Next up for the Lady Tigers: a stretch of exhibition games on the road: Nov. 3rd at Tarleton State University (on ESPN+), Nov. 11th at Ouachita Baptist University, Nov. 14th at Arkansas State University, and Nov. 16th at Henderson State.