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Home News-Telegram Sports Lady Cats rally for 52-43 playoff win

Lady Cats rally for 52-43 playoff win

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    QUINLAN — The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats went on a 29-18 scoring run in the second half to take a 52-43 Class 4A bi-district girls basketball playoff win over Lucas Lovejoy here Tuesday.
    Sulphur Springs (23-5) advances to meet Mansfield Summit (22-7) in the area playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday at McKinney North.  

             For the game, Desi Debase paced the Lady Cats with 21 points, including 10 of 20 free throws, she had five steals, five assists and nine deflections. Chrissalynd Person had 11 points, three 3-pointers. Destiny Wade was a force inside with 12 rebounds and nine points.
    Shani Rainey, a 5-11, Division I prospect from Lovejoy, had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Paige Eberhart had 10 points with two 3-pointers. Stefanie Lewerenz, a 6-2 post for the Lady Leopards, was held to eight points, eight rebounds.
    While sleet was falling outside on the chilly night, the Lady Cats could not get much to drop in the first half, falling behind 25-23 at the end of the second frame.
    Thank goodness for the second half, the Lady Cats not only scored more, but executed a tight 2-3 zone defense limiting buckets by the Lady Leopards.
    “We played better in the second half, we tightened up our defense and that really helped,” said Jeff Chapman, Sulphur Springs head girls basketball coach. “We stop letting them (Lovejoy) get the ball inside. We started scrapping for loose balls. We got some points off runouts and were playing our game.”
    The key to the game was the third period.Sulphur Springs not only went on a 15-6 scoring outburst, but took control of the game and regained the momentum they’d lost in the first half.
    Shakoja Debase opened the third period with a message in the form of a 3-point bomb. In one instant, the Lady Cats went from being behind 25-23, to taking a 26-25 lead and the game was on.
    Lovejoy was shocked and tried to do too much at one time. We made mistakes and turnovers, called for double dribbling. Kasey Moore drew the defense and dished off a nice pass to Wade for an inside bucket. Shakoja Debase made one of three free throws. The Lady Cats lead was 29-25 with 5:51 left in the third frame. Rainey scored in the paint to reduce the lead to 29-27 with five minutes left in the period. Then the Lady Cats got the most unusual bucket of the game, a lob pass from Person to Wade that was too strong and went through the goal for a 3-pointer.
    Person had a shocked expression on her face as the officials raised their arms proclaiming a 3-pointer. Other members of the Lady Cats could just laugh as their lead went to 32-27 with 4:03 left on the third quarter clock.
    “We started out a little nervous,” said Desi Debase. “That shot by Boo (Person) loosened us up and we got a laugh from it. She did not mean to shoot a 3-pointer.”
    Chapman said, “That shot helped us and we will take it. She was going for a lob inside to Wade, but she made it. She had three 3-pointers for the game and played very well.’
    The Lady Cats then returned to their well-used assault, turning steals into buckets. Desi Debase had a layup, then moments later, Person came up with a loose ball and fired the ball down court to Debase for another quick bucket. Lewerenz scored in the paint for Lovejoy. The final bucket of the third was another fast break layup from Desi Debase. Action shifted to the final period with Sulphur Springs holding a 38-31 advantage.
    Sulphur Springs outscored Lovejoy 14-12 in the final quarter. Desi Debase made 9 of 16 free throws spending most of her time at the charity stripe.
    “They went to a hack-a-Shaq or I guess it was hack-a-Desi technique, fouling her almost every time down the floor,” Chapman said. “That’s what they decided to do. We were trying to build our lead and spread the court. I guess they stopped us from doing that.”
    The fourth period started with Person scoring on a transition bucket to make it a 40-31 lead for the Lady Cats.    
    Rainey twice was fouled in the paint, but she only made two of four free throws. Shakoja Debase made a free throw and Desi Debase added a layup. Halfway through the final frame, Sulphur Springs was ahead 43-37. Then the Lady Leopards started rough treatment of Desi Debase, sending her to the foul line almost on every trip down the floor. The Leopards got a late 3-pointer from Eberhart to make it a 47-42 game. The Lady Cats sealed the win with late free throws by Desi Debase. The first round playoff win went to Sulphur Springs by a  52-43 final.
    In the opening period, neither team was burning up the net. Samantha Odom and Lewerenz scored for the Lady Leopards as they took and early 6-2 lead. Desi Debase had to leave temporarily with a minor knee injury, but returned less than a minute later. Sulphur Springs answered the challenge with buckets from Kasey Moore and Shakoja Debase to tie the game at 6-all. Desi Debase canned a bomb from 3-point land, but Rainey answered with an  old-fashioned three-point play, scoring while getting fouled and sinking the following free shot to lock the game at 9-all. Kasey Moore threw a nice pass out to Shakoja Debase for a score. The first period ended with Sulphur Springs holding a 11-9 lead.
    The second period belonged to Lovejoy as they not only outscored the Lady Cats, 16-12, but gained momentum.
    Wade scored on a free throw and later a bucket inside. The Lady Leopards responded with a scoring run of their own. Rainey had nine points in the quarter for Lovejoy. The first half ended with the Lady Leopards holding a 25-23 lead.
    The Lady Cats had a productive halftime deciding to not only change defensives, but regain control of the contest emotionally.
    “In the first half, we were a little slow for some reason,” Chapman said. “Lovejoy changed defenses on us several times. That slowed us down. It was a slower game. But in the playoffs you get two good teams playing each other. You don’t get 60 point games.’
    Chapman said while his offense played well enough to win, the key was the defense.
    “We kept Lovejoy from going inside, our defense got tighter. We did a better job on Rainey and the big girl (Lewerenz),” Chapman said. “We helped out well on them. Destiny played a good game. She rebounded very well and blocked out their big players.”
    Chapman added, “I hear the next team we faced is also very good. That’s the way it is in the playoffs. Our goal is to win one more game and keep going.”
Sulphur Springs 52, Lovejoy 43
Sulphur Springs  11  12  15  14 -52
Lovejoy        9  16  6  12  -43
Sulphur Springs- Kasey Moore 2, Shakoja Debase 9, Desi Debase 21, Chrissalynd Person 11, Destiny Wade 9.
Lovejoy- Paige Eberhard 10, Shani Rainey 19, Samantha Odom 9, Stefanie Lewerenz 8.
    Next up - Sulphur Springs vs. Mansfield Summit, Friday, 7 p.m. McKinney North




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