Adams, who played her high school ball at McMinn Central, outscored the entire Hornet team in the opening 20 minutes. She had 26 points and seven rebounds as the Lady Flames (24-2, 13-2) moved into first place in the heated conference race. The seventh-ranked Lee club jumped out to a 43-23 halftime advantage and was never threatened in the 82-61 victory.
The win avenged a one-point loss at Southern Poly (21-3, 14-3) on Jan. 26. The visitors never seriously threatened coach Marty Rowe's club. Overall, Adams hit a remarkable 15-of-22 shots. She was 6-of-12 from 3-point range and for good measure added an assist, four blocks and a steal in 36 minutes of all-out effort.
"Our game plan was to keep the pressure on them," said assistant coach Kelly Kiser. "We also wanted to play a two-person isolation game with Jenna and Hollie (German). Our girls gave us 40 good minutes of basketball and with our depth, we are pretty hard to beat when we get that type of effort."
Kiser added that the coaching staff had been challenging Adams to step up, especially after a subpar performance against the Hornets in Marietta, Ga. "I would say she stepped up," said Kiser with a smile. "It was ironic that she scored over 40 points on a night that we retired the jersey (of former Lady Flame) Brooke McKinnon (Evans). She was the last Lady Flame to score 40 points in a game."
Adams had her share of help. German took on the role of playmaker and dished off eight assists. However, she did contribute 18 points to the final total. "That is the type of player Hollie is," added Kiser. "She will do whatever it takes to help her teammates win."
Although the rest of the team scored only 23 points, the depth factor played a role with Karley Miller, Julia Zimmerman, Rachel Lockhart and Brooke Hamby playing over 20 minutes. Lockhart hit a pair of key 3's in the first half and added three assists. Hamby also canned a 3-pointer and had three assists.
All totaled, the Lady Flames made 13-of-31 3-pointers (42 percent). Overall, they connected on 27-of-63 shots and were outstanding at the free-throw line, making 15-of-16 attempts. Lee had 17 assists compared to 14 turnovers. On the other hand, the Lady Flames forced 15 Southern Poly turnovers and the Hornets had only nine assists.
The Lady Flame defense was superior from start to finish. Southern Poly connected on only 33 percent overall and was able to hit on just 4-of-14 shots from behind the arc. The Hornets did go to the line 29 times and canned 21. Lee won the rebounding battle 39-34.
Sarah Ogoke scored 22 points to pace the SPSU attack. However, she was held to only 6-of-17 overall shooting. Arnissa Galloway added 11, while Erica Turner and Ashelie Billingslea totaled 10 apiece.
Coach Kiser warned that the Lady Flames must avoid "a trap game" when they travel to Brenau University on Monday for a 6 p.m. contest. "We have never played well at Brenau and we've certainly got to be ready now that we have the conference lead."
FLAMES 73, HORNETS 60
Coming off an emotional victory over Emmanuel College just five days ago there was no letdown for the Lee men as they defeated conference rival Southern Poly 73-60 in Thursday’s nightcap.
The Flames jumped out to a 31-18 advantage at the intermission, limiting the Hornets to just 22.6 percent shooting from the field. In the second stanza Lee extended the margin out to 21 points with just under nine minutes to play but turnovers and foul trouble kept Southern Poly within striking distance for much of the final period. The Flames never relinquished the lead and held off the pesky Hornets to secure the 13-point victory.
"This team is killing me. I'm losing some hair I can't afford to lose," quipped coach Tommy Brown. "We keep blowing big leads late in the game. We can't seem to put teams away. I think we're going to have to turn them loose and stop trying to pull it back out with a big lead."
Will Barnes paced the Lee attack with 20 points and seven rebounds. Chase Dunn added 19 markers, six boards and three steals. Corey Billingsley made it three in double-figure scoring with 10 points.
Jamorris Gaines finished with nine points, two of which came on a show-stopping, one-handed dunk over a Southern Poly defender that brought the home crowd to its feet. The 6-foot-6 junior soared high to slam it home and draw the foul. Gaines would add another acrobatic dunk a few minutes later to extend the Lee advantage in the second half.
"The two dunks by Jamorris (Gaines) were really something. He can really sky at times," noted Brown.
After struggling shooting the ball for most of the opening half the Flames ended up shooting 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the field and 77.3 percent (17-of-22) from the charity stripe. The Lee defense held the Hornets to just 30.8 percent shooting from the field in the contest. The Flames won the rebounding battle by the slightest of margins, outrebounding the Georgia-based club 41-40. Lee committed 15 turnovers while Southern Poly was guilty of 11 floor mistakes.
The Hornets were led by Marcus Dortch with 14 points. C.J. McElrath added 12 points and seven rebounds. De'Andre Blackmon tallied 11 points and Cortez Irby registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench for Southern Poly.
With the victory the No. 2 ranked Flames move to 25-1 on the year and 14-1 in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). The loss drops SPSU to 13-14 and 4-12 in conference play.
"The conference race is a long way from being over. We still have road trips to Emmanuel and Brewton Parker plus we square off with Truett-McConnell next week for Senior Night." Brown acknowledged.
Brown's club will be back in action on Monday with a nonconference matchup against Hiwassee College set for 7 p.m. at Walker Arena. On Thursday, the Flames remain at home as they welcome Truett-McConnell in for Senior Night. Tip time is set for 8 p.m.