NICEVILLE — Jessie Day's last-second heroics weren't needed this time around. Less than a week after the 6-foot sophomore delivered the game-winning jumper with two seconds left to give Niceville a come-from-behind 60-59 win county rival Crestview, the Lady Eagles erased any doubt of another down-to-the-wire finish with the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday en route to a 60-42 win.
NICEVILLE — Jessie Day's last-second heroics weren't needed this time around.
Less than a week after the 6-foot sophomore delivered the game-winning jumper with two seconds left to give Niceville a come-from-behind 60-59 win county rival Crestview, the Lady Eagles erased any doubt of another down-to-the-wire finish with the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday en route to a 60-42 win.
"That's what I told the girls: "We have to play four quarters of basketball,' " said Niceville coach David Day, whose team improved to 7-1. "That's one thing we haven't done. If these girls play four quarters, this is what they can do."
For an encore of last week's clutch basket, his daughter fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.
"We did not play very well the last time we played them, so we wanted to come out from the tip and play 32 solid minutes of basketball," Jessie Day said.
Crestview shut her down to the tune of zero points and three rebounds with a box-and-one in the first quarter, but the versatile post player had eight points and seven rebounds by halftime as an 11-6 first quarter ballooned into a 26-16 halftime lead.
"If you noticed she didn't score any of the first 11 points of the game, and that's something we adjusted to," coach Day said. "She can care less about how many points she scores. She just wants to win. She gave it to everyone else and then when it came her time, she shined."
Added Jessie, "I just had to take on more players offensively to create opportunities for my teammates and to help us win."
Shouldering the load early on was Micheala Mitchell, who was one of three Lady Eagles in double figures with 13 points – 10 of which came at halftime. Jaci Hodskins added 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while Madison McNabb contributed to a dominant post effort with eight rebounds and a pair of blocks.
"That's what we wanted to do," coach Day said of a dominant frontcourt effort that led the Lady Eagles to a plus-10 rebounding effort. "We knew they were going to get their outside shots, but we didn't want to give them any second-chance points. We wanted to cut off the interior because we have some great post players and we like to use our height."
The height added up to 11 blocks for the Lady Eagles, who also created 20 turnovers and held the Lady Bulldogs – which received a game-high 17 points from KK McTear and 11 from Jensis Coleman – to 22 percent shooting.
Cleaning up the boards led to an offense that pushed the tempo and consistently got easy looks in transition, leading to a 54-percent shooting clip from the floor to overcome 30 turnovers.
But the turnovers loomed large as late as the third quarter, when the Lady Eagles clung to a 26-19 lead after 22 turnovers in the opening 18 minutes. But a pair of baskets by Day and a Hodskins bucket in the post kicked off a 13-0 run and led to a 41-21 Niceville lead headed into the fourth quarter. And the advantage wouldn't dip under 20 until the waning seconds as Niceville cruised to the comfortable win.
Now the Lady Eagles' attention turns to another rival in Choctaw.
"We're happy where we're at an we realize this is just one game," coach Day said. "Now we have Choctaw coming in Saturday night and we just want to continue to improve on tonight's game and build for Choctaw."
Added his daughter, "I'm really excited for the competition. They'll play their best, we'll play ours and we'll see how it goes."