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After Dixon goes down, Leroy girls struggle and lose in regional final

Leroy’s Chauncey Dixon goes up for a basket in the first half against Elba in the Class 1A girls South Regional final Monday at Garrett Coliseum on Montgomery. After the Bears had led all the way, Dixon went down with a knee injury in the third period and the Bears faded to a 56-35 defeat. (Helen Joyce/Call News)

 

By JIMMY WIGFIELD

MONTGOMERY — To say Chauncey Dixon is Leroy’s tower of power is perhaps an understatement given what happened after the tower collapsed in the third period against Elba Monday.

Dixon, the Bears’ 6-3 junior center, was enjoying a dominant performance with 13 points and 14 rebounds and had helped Leroy to a 29-24 lead when she crashed to the floor with 4:23 left in the third period.

Dixon’s cries of pain echoed throughout the chilly, silent Garrett Coliseum and when she was finally helped off the floor to the treatment tent, never to return, the Bears never recovered.

The No. 4-ranked Tigers (28-4) then went on a 32-6 run and beat Leroy 56-35 in the Class 1A girls South Regional final to advance to the state tournament in Birmingham.

It was a bitter ending to the first regional final appearance for the Bears (13-8), who led all the way — and by as many as 12 points in the first period — until Dixon suffered what her mother and Leroy coach Shaynae Barnes-Dixon said afterward is believed to be a sprained knee, not a torn ACL.

“She hit the floor hard and no foul was called,” coach Dixon said. “She was playing really well and when she got hurt, the girls went downhill. They’ve got plenty of heart but it just wasn’t enough. We led most of the night and the outcome would have been different if Chauncey hadn’t gotten hurt.”

Brenna Pipken added 10 points for the Bears, who got outscored 30-10 off an astounding 45 turnovers. Elba also made 20 of 31 free throws to Leroy’s 10 of 15.

“We had way too many turnovers,” coach Dixon said.

After Chauncey Dixon was injured, the Bears attempted just eight shots the rest of the way because they had 18 turnovers in the final 12:23.

Tigers players comforted Chauncey Dixon after the game as she was helped from the treatment tent to the floor by Leroy head football coach Chan Lowe. But only the promise of next season may be any comfort for the Bears, who lose just one senior, Makayla Payne.

“We’re going to be back next year just as strong,” coach Dixon said. “We lost to Elba by one in the Sweet 16 last year. We came back for revenge. We’ll see them again.”

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