Decatur High coach Brad Boy knows his girls often have to play "ugly" to win and, for a half Friday night, rival Austin played along.
But Bruce Hamilton's Black Bears turned an ugly game into a pretty win in the second half, pulling away to a 37-28 victory at Calhoun Community College.
The basketball rarely went through the hoop for either team in the opening half, and Decatur led 3-2 after the opening quarter and 8-6 at the half.
Austin shot 11.5 percent and Decatur shot 7.6 percent from the field in the first half.
"Decatur played hard and did some things we haven't seen like trapping and pressing full court," Hamilton said. "I thought that made us rush our shots."
Boy said he thought his girls were executing their gameplan even though they weren't making shots.
"For us to make it a game, that's the way we have to play," Boy said. "I hear the term ‘ugly' a lot, but we have to create turnovers."
Both teams seemed to find the range better in the second half. Austin took control with an 11-2 run that rolled from late in the third quarter to early in the fourth. Katie Speegle's layup gave the Bears a 22-14 lead with seven minutes left.
Decatur didn't quit, however, and Constance Steele's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 26-23 with 4:10 remaining.
The Raiders got within 29-27 with 1:58 left, but Takisha Johnson's putback and four free throws salted away the Austin win in the final minutes.
"We just knew we had to settle down and handle their press," said Johnson, who had nine points in the win.
Boy said the difference in the second half was Austin's 10 second-chance points. The Bears' Katie Speegle had four offensive rebounds, and Aaliya Rice had three in the win.
"They didn't have any second-chance points in the first half," Boy said. "We couldn't stop their putbacks."
Tyra Johnson had a game-high 11 points to lead Austin (5-3, 2-0 in Class 6A, Area 16). Taneisha Johnson had eight to pace Decatur (3-6, 0-1).