Royse City pulls away from Lady Cats in second half
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Nov. 17, 2004 - ROYSE CITY - With Sulphur Springs down by one at the half, 24-23, to the Royse City Lady Bulldogs, it looked as if the Lady Cats would pick up win number one of the season.

That didn't happen.

Sulphur Springs was outscored 19-16 in the second half for a 43-39 loss Tuesday night.

"It is a lot more faster here on the varsity level, and you have to be crisp, you have to be smart and you have to make good decisions on the varsity level," SSHS head coach Carin Hoffman said. "It is going to take some time and I don't expect it to come in a week or three games, but it is going to take a while."

The Lady Cats are now 0-2 on the season and will get ready for the Quinlan Ford tournament Thursday against McKinney North. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 2 p.m.

"McKinney North is good, period. We faced them the last couple of years and they are a good ball club and well-coached," the coach said. "We are going to have to be ready to go, and if we want to get a win that night we are going to have to play with no turnovers, not panicking under pressure because they are going to press us. We are going to have to start playing like a varsity team if we want to make a ball game out of it."

If Sulphur Springs picks up the win or the loss against McKinney North, they will play again Friday at 2 p.m. against either Commerce or Bastrop.

Tuesday, SSHS jumped out early in the first quarter with an 8-2 lead until Royse City got on a roll on a jumper by Amy Barnett and Ashley Gavin to cut the SSHS lead to 11-10.

Neither team was able to shoot the ball well throughout the entire game as they combined to shoot six-of-26 in the second quarter, with the Lady Bulldogs taking a 24-23 lead at the half.

"Just like last week, we are still wanting to rush, rush, rush and that comes because they are inexperienced at playing on the varsity level," Hoffman said. "They will start making crisper passes and start seeing when it is a good shot or a bad shot during the game."

Gavin started to take control of the game for the Lady Bulldogs with eight points in the third quarter and a game-high 23 points on 10-of-25 shooting from the field.

"The game plan going in was to try and let her take the ball in on the dribble. She is their set shooter, I believe, and she can hit from the outside if you leave her open," Hoffman said. "Any time she got the ball, we wanted to pressure her and make her drive, and she missed a ton on the drive and then we were making silly fouls on her."

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Cats got to within 38-37 on a fast break lay-up from Ne-Ne Hynson to Bridgette Nash with 4:40 remaining, before Royse City jumped back with an assist from Jill Owens to Kristin Riccandi for a 40-37 lead.

"I still believe that this team has what it takes and it is going to take some time because we are taking baby steps right now," Hoffman said.

Nash led the Lady Cats with 10 points and eight rebounds, while teammate Minta Mannon had nine points and three steals in the game.

"It was no secret coming in that we don't know who are scorers are," Hoffman said. "We have the kids that can do it but they don't know it yet and as they start getting more experience on this level they will calm down and relax."

Hoffman said she believes that the team is coming together and that once everyone knows their role on the team they will begin to gel and be motivated throughout the season.

"We have shooters on our team and we have post players that can score, but they are not doing it yet," the coach said. "I think they are coming together, and when people are wanting to tell them that they are not any good and that they have only one player back, it has really motivated them this season."

Cresha Hubbard contributed seven points, while Hynson added five points in the game.

The Lady Cats shot 14-of-61 for 22.9 percent, while Royse City shot 14-of-52 for 26.9 percent in the contest.

Riccandi had six points, while teammate Amy Barnett had five points in the contest, as Royse City improved to 1-1 on the season.

The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats freshman squad picked up their second win of the year against Royse City with a 30-15 win Tuesday night.

Stephanie Conley led the way with 11 points and six rebounds, while teammate Star Wright had six points in the contest. Alyssa Gooding had four points, four assists, and five steals for the Lady Cats, and teammate Jennifer Mitchell had four points.

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