Lady Cats lose in overtime to Pleasant Grove
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Dec. 10, 2005 - COMMERCE - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats will have to take Friday's first-round game in the Commerce Winter Classic as a learning experience.

�Coach Tina Carrillo wanted them to learn and get the "W," but the Lady Cats fell short in overtime to Texarkana Pleasant Grove, 61-59.

In a see-saw second half, the Lady Cats led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, fell behind by seven in the fourth, then not only forced overtime, but had several chances to win the game in regulation.

Sulphur Springs had three players post double-doubles, as junior Cresha Hubbard led the team with 19 points and 14 rebounds, senior Bridgette Nash added 19 points and 12 boards, and senior forward Whitney Jordan put up 10 points and 11 rebounds.

But, the Lady Cats went 0-for-3 in the final minute of the fourth quarter with a chance to win the game.

"We're improving," said Carrillo, who is in her first year as head coach at SSHS. "We've got to learn some things from this loss and apply them next time. I can see that we're improving, especially on offense."

Sulphur Springs was scheduled to play at 10:30 a.m. today at the Commerce High School against either Bonham or Paris. The winner will play at 3 p.m. in the consolation final at TAMU-Commerce.

On Friday, the Lady Cats (3-9) scored 34 points in the first half, taking an eight-point lead into halftime. Their advantage reached 38-26 after back-to-back low-post buckets from Nash off assists from Jordan to open the third quarter. But, Pleasant Grove went on a 17-3 run over the final five minutes of the quarter to take a 45-41 advantage.

Pleasant Grove's Allyson Rice and Alyssa Pickett were instrumental in the second-half surge. Pickett led all scorers with 20 points, while Rice added 12 and Lauren Cox had 14 for the Lady Hawks (5-5).

In the fourth quarter, Pleasant Grove's lead topped out at 53-46 on a Picket jumper with 3:15 to play. The Lady Hawks were able to build the lead with a hot-shooting touch. They hit 50 percent of their shots in the second half and overtime.

But, the Lady Cats used a 9-0 run to go up, 55-53. The run started with Nash taking a pass from McKenzie Cross and banking in a short shot with 2:19 left in the fourth quarter. Nash then stole the inbound pass and hit a 15-foot jumper to pull the Lady Cats to within 53-50.

Cross then stole the Lady Hawks' next inbound pass, fed it to sophomore Stephanie Connally, who hit the lay-up and foul shot to tie the game at 53-all.

After a turnover by Pleasant Grove, the Lady Cats took a 55-53 lead with 1:31 to play when Nash hit Hubbard with a pass for a lay-up to break the Lady Hawk press.

Pleasant Grove, though, tied the game with 48 seconds left on a bucket by Pickett. SSHS had two shots at the lead with 35 seconds remaining, but missed both. The had one more opportunity in regulation, though, when Jordan tied up the ball with 3.5 seconds remaining, but Sulphur Springs did not get off a final shot.

In overtime, Pleasant Grove took the lead off the opening tip and twice had four-point advantages. The Lady Cats cut the lead to two on a base line drive by Jordan and a low-post bucket by Hubbard with 1:35 to play. But, they had two turnovers and two missed jump shots in the final minute.

"We needed to continue to go inside to Cresha and Bridgette there in the fourth quarter and overtime, and we just didn't do it," Carrillo said. "We needed to stick with what was going good for us."

Cross led the team in steals with seven to go with three assists and two points. Jordan added a team-high four assists and four steals. Sophomore Star Wright put up four points and two blocked shots.

Sulphur Springs tore down 51 rebounds, almost double Pleasant Grove's total of 28, and turnovers were even  (26 for SSHS, 25 for PG). But, the Lady Hawks hit 49.5 percent of their shots from the field (29-of-59), while Sulphur Springs made 24-of-67 (35 percent).

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