|Lady Cats come back from post-Christmas action with loss to Community|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Dec. 28, 2005 - NEVADA - If the Lady Cats would have been playing six-minute quarters on Tuesday, they would have been in good shape. Alas, a game is made up of four eight-minute quarters, and that was the undoing for Sulphur Springs.
The Nevada Community Lady Braves finished each quarter strong enough to land them a 54-46 victory in the teams' first post-Christmas action.
Community outscored Sulphur Springs (6-12) by a 12-2 margin over the last 3:28 of the first quarter, by 7-2 over the final 2:22 of the second quarter, by 8-0 over the final 2:00 of the third period, and by a 6-2 score over the last 2:05 of the game.
The Lady Cats didn't play poorly, but they lacked the energy necessary to finish off the Lady Braves (7-7).
Community received 20 points, four steals and four assists from Veronica Carr, and 11 points and 10 rebounds from Chelci Newton.
Sulphur Springs senior Bridgette Nash shot 9-of-12 from the field to end with 18 points to go with six rebounds and three blocked shots, while sophomore forward Stephanie Connally continued her string of solid games with six points, a season-high 15 rebounds and three steals. Sophomore post Star Wright added eight points and four blocks.
It appeared at the beginning that Sulphur Springs would notch its third straight victory when the Lady Cats took a 12-4 lead midway through the first period. Freshman point guard McKenzie Cross had a pair of back-to-back buckets off a steal from Whitney Jordan and a take-away of her own. Cross ended with four points, four steals and three assists, and Jordan had eight points and a team-high five assists.
But, Community not only chipped away at the lead, but took a 16-14 advantage at the end of the period by collecting seven offensive rebounds and forcing nine SSHS turnovers in the period.
The teams plays evenly in the second period, with Community's Carr hitting a 3-pointer to start the period, and SSHS' Nash scoring six points. the Lady Cats scored eight straight points midway through the period on a 17-foot jumper from Shardae Jones, a putback by Connally, and back-to-back assists from senior Kaytlin Black to Wright and Nash. The inside duo for SSHS also combined for five blocks in the second quarter alone.
Still, Community had a 30-27 lead at the break.
The Lady Cats tied the game at 35-35 with 3:33 to play in the third period on a pair of free throws by Connally. But, those would be the last points they would score in the quarter.
Community closed the period on an 8-0 run, punctuated by another 3-pointer by Carr, to go up 43-35 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Nash scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter on a lob pass from Cross, but the team's leading scorer missed much of the final period due to foul trouble,
Still, the Lady Cats got to within four points, 48-44, on a Connally bucket off a press break and a Jordan drive. But, with 2:05 to play in the game, Community's Erin Powell popped a back-breaking 3-pointer from the corner to put the deficit back to seven points.
Both teams were almost identical shooting from the field (21-of-53 for SSHS, 21-of-51 for Community), but the Lady Braves knocked down three 3-pointers in 11 attempts, while Sulphur Springs went 0-for-2 from behind the arc.
SSHS had 32 rebounds, while Community had 27, but the Lady Braves recorded 17 steals, compared to 13 for SSHS.
Sulphur Springs will play again on Friday when they host Commerce. The freshmen-JV game will begin at noon, with the varsity to follow at about 1:30 p.m.
In subvarsity action, the SSHS JV and freshmen both lost their first-round games in their respective tournaments in Quitman. The Sulphur Springs junior varsity is playing in the Quitman varsity tournament, while the freshmen are in the Quitman JV bracket.
They were both scheduled to play again today - the freshmen at 12:45 p.m., and the JV at 2 p.m.