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Wright turns out lights on Lakers


Lake Clifton learned a lesson about Wright and wrong yesterday.

The third-ranked Lakers found out that Western junior forward Chanel Wright could do little wrong.

Wright made her first seven shots and 11 of 13 en route to a 32-point performance.

And that was only the first half.

She finished with a career-high 38 points to lead top-ranked Western to an 81-61 victory over visiting Lake Clifton in a meeting of the top two teams in the City-Wide 4A League.

The victory gives the Doves (12-1, 8-0) sole possession of first place in the division. The Lakers (9-1, 7-1), who will play host to Western in a rematch on Feb. 22, fell to second.

After the game, Wright declined to comment on her performance, saying that she would only discuss the team's effort.

"We were ready for this game and the team played really well," said Wright, a two-time All-Metro selection. "We still have a long way to go, but we're making progress.

Western coach Breezy Bishop was more willing to talk about Wright.

"She's the total package," Bishop said. "She has every college in the country after her, and [yesterday] she was as hot as she could be."

Lake Clifton began the game playing man-to-man defense and Wright made them pay for it.

Whether it was driving through the lane for a basket, hitting an outside shot, scoring tough points inside over 6-foot-6 center Natisha Ferguson or finishing off a fast break, Wright was unstoppable.

She scored 12 as the Doves raced to a 16-4 lead. Lake Clifton coach James Monroe then switched to a 2-1-2, but it didn't seem to bother her.

Wright continued to score virtually at will. Her 32-point output at halftime matched the Lakers' total for the half.

After Western's initial spurt, however, Lake Clifton remained within striking distance, thanks largely to Ferguson (27 points, 21 rebounds).

Ferguson, who scored 14 in the first half, began to assert herself inside in the second quarter. She helped the Lakers pull within five early in the period before settling for an 11-point halftime deficit.

Lake Clifton played most of the second quarter without point guard Lashina Gross, a second-team All-Metro player who was shaken up after taking a charge early in the period.

Gross returned for the start of the second half, but a cold spell from the field did in the Lakers. Lake Clifton missed its first six shots in the third quarter, and then Lakers forward Celena Falline was called for a technical foul.

Western junior guard Tesha Tinsley converted both free throws after the technical, and junior center Danielle Davis scored inside to give the Doves a 51-33 lead with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter.

Lake Clifton reduced its deficit to 53-41, but Western ended the period on a 10-0 spurt. The lead never got below 18 and was as much as 30 in the fourth quarter.

"The key to the game was that we played a controlled, half-court game," Bishop said. "I thought if we tried to run with them it would have been helter-skelter."

Bishop said she was pleased with the results of her experiment in which point guard Kimberly Smith and shooting guard Tinsley switched positions.

"In a big game like this, I think Tesha was a tremendous quarterback in her first game at the point," Bishop said. "I moved Kimmy to the two guard because she has the ability to create so well on offense. And she responded."

Smith finished with 13 points and four assists. Davis added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Doves.

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