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Strength in middle lifts Dixie

Center Shamika Forbes scores 15 as the Rebels open their season with a 52-38 win over Gibbs.

By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- One game into his tenure, Dixie Hollins coach Dave Morgen is still finding out what he has to work with.

One thing he does have is a presence in the post.

Shamika Forbes, a 6-foot-4 center, scored 15 to lead the Rebels to a 52-38 season-opening win Tuesday over Gibbs.

The south county teams remained tight throughout much of the first half, then Forbes scored inside in the closing seconds to help Dixie take a 24-17 halftime lead. Coming out of the locker room, she made two more baskets from the post in the first minute-and-a-half to put the Rebels comfortably ahead for good.

"We knew they were going to play a 1-3-1 (defense); we made a few minor changes in the offense," Morgen said. "In some parts (Forbes) got open, other parts we forced it into her, but at least our thinking was where it had to be."

Jackie Robinson hit four shots from the perimeter in the first half en route to 11 points, and Indya Brown played the entire game at guard and added 12 for Dixie (1-0, 1-0 Class 5A, District 10).

Gibbs (1-1, 1-1) could not find an offensive rhythm until the closing seconds when the deficit was double figures. Through the first 12 minutes of the second half, the Gladiators shot 4-of-24 from the field.

"We've been putting in a lot of different plays, they haven't quite executed yet," Gibbs first-year coach Jennifer Romanski said. "We're relying a lot right now on their athletic ability."

Gibbs' only lead came two minutes into the game when Aisha Umar scored inside to put the Gladiators up 4-2. It lasted just 12 seconds as Robinson hit a jumper at the other end and moments later Brown scored on a fastbreak.

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