The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats opened district play with a flourish, taking a 44-33 win over Pine Tree Friday night.
The crowd in the newly remodeled Sulphur Springs High School gym got to see a spirited game which was not decided until the final half.
Desi Debase was a wrecking crew all by herself, leading the Lady Cats with 25 points on the night for high point honors. She got tired late and could have scored more, but she was only 11 of 22 from the free line. Six of her misses came in the final period. Kasey Moore had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists.
The Lady Cats had 28 total rebounds. Shakoja Debase and Moore had 7 each for top honors.
Sky-Lynn Holmes had a double-double for the Lady Pirates with 15 points, 11 boards. Her scoring was hampered by foul trouble in the second half which limited her time on the court. No other Pine Tree player was in double figures or a threat to score to fill the gap left when Holmes had to rest on the bench.
The Lady Cats went to 17-7, 1-0 with the win, while Pine Tree fell to 11-9, 0-1.
"I was happy to get the win. Pine Tree is a team picked to win district, they have everybody back. We could have played better, we were not as sharp as we have been," said Jeff Chapman, Sulphur Springs Lady Cats head basketball coach. "I think we had too many days off, we were not crisp. We were just a little off, but Pine Tree had something to do with that. Desi got her points and did what she does. She not only scores, but she is unselfish, she makes her teammates better."
Neither team was able to pull away very far in the first half. The Lady Cats began the third period with a 22-17 lead.
Holmes scored in a bucket in the paint for Pine Tree to cut the margin to 22-19 with 6:56 left in the third frame. Then Desi Debase went to work, turning a steal into a bucket as she used a stop and go move in the lane to confuse a defender before scoring. Destiny Wade popped out near the free throw line on a set play and connected for a jumper to give the home team a 26-19 lead. Kabresha Orange scored while getting fouled and Pine Tree tried to stay close, trailing 26-21. Sulphur Springs responded with ,a point from Wade on a free throw. Desi Debase had a layup off another steal and then sank two free throws. The Lady Pirates got two free throws from McKaylla Baylor, but the visitors were on the short end of a 33-23 score. The third period ended with the Lady Cats taking control and maintaining a 10-point lead 37-27 as action shifted to the fourth period.
Neither team scored much in the final frame as the squads combined for 13 points. Sulphur Springs got a free throw from Desi Debase followed by a low post bucket from Kasey Moore. Shakoja Debase got a basket from the outside. Pine Tree called a time out with 4:03 left to try and cool down the Lady Cats. But with a 42-29 lead, Sulphur Springs just about had the game in the bag. Pine Tree continued to foul Desi Debase sending her to the charity stripe down the stretch. Sulphur Springs took the win by the 44-33 final to secure the first contest in district.
Points were more plentiful in the first half, but still neither team was really burning up the net.
The Lady Cats took a 5-4 lead out of the blocks with Desi Debase twice scoring off drives while Wade made a free throw. Holmes scored the first two buckets for Pine Tree in the lane. Kasey Moore then came up with a rebound and quickly rifled off a pass to Desi Debase for a layup on the other end. Then the Lady Cats got the crowd involved with their version of "Showtime." Desi Debase took a fast break outlet pass, found the path to the goal blocked, so she went behind her back with a dribble, then dished off to Kasey Moore for a bucket in a stylish display. Moments later Kasey Moore returned the favor as she got a steal and passed to Desi Debase for a transition bucket. The first quarter ended with Sulphur Springs holding a 12-8 lead.
Pine Tree got within a bucket at 14-12 in the early stages of the second period, but could not tie or take the lead. The Lady Cats went on a scoring run in the final five minutes of the second period. Points came from Desi Debase on a nice penetration move to the goal and free throws by Moore. The first half ended with the hometown Lady Cats up 22-17.
In the second half, Sulphur Springs outscored Pine Tree 22-16 which was enough to pad the lead and win by the 11-point margin.
"We did a good job on No. 20 (Holmes) when we figured out that they were lobbing the ball to her. Destiny played her better in the second half," Chapman said. "Kasey had some plays, but we need more scoring. "
Chapman said, "We hang our hat on defense. We work on it and it's consistent. We can guard people, we can force turnovers. But it would be good to see our offense perform well too. We need more scoring. We're going to be working on our offense and shooting free throws."
Sulphur Springs 44, Pine Tree 33
Sulphur Springs 12 10 15 7 -44
Pine Tree 8 9 10 6 -33
Sulphur Springs - Kasey Moore 10, Sydney Womack 2, Shakoja Debase 2, Desi Debase 25, Destiny Wade 5. FTs 18-35.
Pine Tree - Daniesha Patterson 4, Mackenzie Richardson 2, Kabrisha Orange 2, Sky-Lynn Holmes 15, Keambria Richards 2, McKaylla Baylor 2.
Sulphur Springs 34, Pine Tree 13 (JV)
Sulphur Springs - Catelyn Cook 2, Michelle Good 5, Destiny Watkins 3, Jada Goodson 14, Lexie Moore 8, Ericka Wade 2.
Next up - Lady Cats at Marshall, Tuesday, JV, V, first game at 5 p.m.
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