Paul Laurence Dunbar showed that it's more than just Ebony Rowe on Saturday morning.
And in the process of beating No. 18 Lincoln County 64-52 at the Lady Defenders Classic, Coach Mike Sowers believes the No. 20 Bulldogs showed they might be a contender at the end of the season.
"The girls really showed me signs tonight that we could use a bunch of different combinations and still play well," Sowers said. "Depth like that will be key in late February."
Rowe, a Middle Tennessee State signee, didn't start because she missed a practice to attend her sister's graduation, but the all-underclassmen starting lineup did well.
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Junior point guard Christin Haney opened the game with three straight three-pointers and another long field goal to give Dunbar an 11-6 lead.
"I was the oldest one out there so I felt like I had to be in charge," said Haney, who had 19 points at the half and a career-high 23 points by the end. She also had six rebounds and three assists.
The younger players seem to go as Haney goes, Sowers said.
"She's heart and soul and she knows she needs to suck it up and get this team playing hard," Sowers said. "Everyone kind of looks to her for hard play."
The Bulldogs (5-2) did get their usual double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds from Rowe, but they also got 14 points from freshman guard Kierra Muhammad.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Patriots, who fell behind by 17 points twice before cutting it to single digits early in the fourth quarter.
Once Lincoln cut it to eight, the Bulldogs used a 9-1 run to put the game away for good.
Bryan Station 74, East Carter 41: The Defenders are starting to become the team that Coach Karra Jackson always imagined they could be.
She still seemed a little surprised that her players outscored a previously unbeaten Raiders team 31-12 in the third quarter.
"It's the first time we've put together a full quarter," Jackson said. "We got the lead and we put them away. We're really starting to develop that winner's mentality."
Station used its size and athleticism to bother East Carter. Alesha Prince (19 points, seven rebounds) and Amber Crumbie (11 points and six rebounds) accounted for 30 points in the paint for the Defenders, who are starting a season 3-0 for the first time since 2004-05.
Nearly everyone Station put on the floor contributed. Four players finished in double figures. Seven different players had four rebounds or more.
Mikyla Mosby added 13 points and Serena Sandusky chipped in with 12 points in the rout.
Henry Clay 46, Perry County Central 32: Junior guard Candace Morton had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Lady Devils, who jumped out to a 10-point lead at halftime.
Senior Pilar Morgan chipped in with 10 points for Henry Clay.
Sheldon Clark 46, Lafayette 45: The Generals fought back from a 15-point second-half deficit but couldn't complete the comeback in a home loss to the Cardinals.
Morgan Walker and Mackenzie Graham had 11 points to lead Lafayette, which trailed 34-19 in the third quarter before launching its comeback bid.
Ryle 47, Tates Creek 43: Sophomore forward Peyton Hisel had 18 points and 17 rebounds, but the Commodores couldn't hold on to a late lead against Ryle.
Creek led 37-35 going into the fourth quarter but scored just six points in the final period, which helped Ryle improve to 4-0 going into Monday's matchup against No. 10 Lexington Christian.