After scoring a total of just nine points in the first two games, Tallassee’s Lindan Oliver started letting the ball fly and she brought a spark of offense to the Tigers against Auburn last Tuesday. Oliver knocked down seven 3-pointers to finish with a game-high 25 points in a 74-33 defeat to Auburn but the home crowd was still entertained by Oliver’s big performance.
“That was fun and they like to see her shoot,” Tallassee coach Harold Harris said. “She always has the green light and she knows it.”
Oliver was the only Tallassee player to score in the second half but she outscored Auburn 15-5 on her own in the fourth quarter, making five 3-pointers. While she was the only one putting up points, her shooting gave the rest of the team confidence and Tallassee got to end on a high note despite its largest margin of defeat this season.
“They know what they didn’t do,” Harris said. “I give them the opportunity to tell me what they need to do better. And there were some positives because they played a little better in the fourth quarter.”
After Oliver knocked down multiple deep shots from the top of the key, the Auburn defense started to stretch it’s 2-3 zone to contest the 3-point attempts. Tallassee’s offense started working more as a team as multiple passes were made and the ball still ended in the hands of Oliver for open looks beyond the arc from the corner.
“If Lindan starts shooting and they have to jump out there on her, that makes our offense a lot better,” Harris said. “We have somebody out there stretching the defense and someone can get open in the middle.”
Harris said he needs other players to step up more but it was good to see Oliver shoot with more confidence. Oliver, who won a 3-point contest at Tallassee’s Midday Madness event before the season, said she knows shooting is her strength but she wants to do anything she can to help the team win.
While the play has not turned into victories yet, Oliver and the Tigers are staying positive and focused on the rest of the season. Harris said the goal is to get everyone playing their best basketball by January and it is already starting with team leaders Oliver and Sinclair Cole.
“We only have two seniors and they have been a tremendous help,” Harris said. “Sinclair probably needed to make some more shots (last Tuesday) but that’s why Lindan stepped up. They are there already but we need everyone else to get there and I think we will.”
Tallassee had six 30-point losses last season and Harris was hoping to eliminate those this year but he said Auburn is the toughest team on the schedule and he thinks it was a good test early in the season.
“We wanted to work on stuff that was going to make us better down the road,” Harris said. “Things like boxing out and getting those early-season jitters out. We’re going to be fine once we get into the area. We’ll be better.”