|Lady Cats lose to North Lamar|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Jan. 11, 2006 - PARIS - The North Lamar Pantherettes were upset in the district opener on Friday. They made sure it wouldn't happen twice in a row.
The Pantherettes were focused on Sulphur Springs Tuesday night, and the defending District 12-4A champions used a smothering full court trap and an efficient shooting performance to take a 74-22 victory.
Coming off a shocking 39-37 loss to crosstown rival Paris last week, the Pantherettes held the Lady Cats to single digit scoring in each quarter, mostly because of their run-and-jump press that helped force 37 SSHS turnovers.
The Lady Cats (8-14 overall) fell to 0-2 in district play, and must travel to co-leader Paris (13-11, 2-0) on Friday. North Lamar is 13-10, 1-1.
All eight NL players scored at least five points, led by 21 points from Pam Elmore and 10 points apiece from Erin Anderson and Robyn Bush.
The Lady Cats got eight points and eight rebounds from sophomore forward Stephanie Connally, but North Lamar took away the presence of 5-10 senior post Bridgette Nash, who was held to no points and two rebounds. She came into the game averaging 13 points and nine rebounds and had posted double-doubles in four of the last five games.
"They were ready for us - they were not going to let anyone sneak up on them," said SSHS head coach Tina Carrillo.
The game got away from the Lady Cats in the second period, when North Lamar held them to just one point (a free throw by Whitney Jordan) over the final 7:10 of the period while scoring 20 unanswered points.
"We hung in there for a quarter and a half, then I think we got frustrated by a couple of turnovers in a row," Carrillo said. "We quit going with what was working in the beginning.
"We started forcing the ball along the sidelines instead of having quick reversals against their run-and-jump press. We had some spacing problems there for a little while, but mainly we were just rushing things."
The problems showed up in the score sheet. North Lamar made more field goals (31) than Sulphur Springs took (29). The Pantherettes shot 68 times, making the most of the disparity in turnovers (37-12) and offensive rebounds (19-6).
But, more than the physical problems, Carrillo said the Lady Cats must get past a mental stigma that has lingered since last year's 105-26 loss to North Lamar.
"I think this was a mental challenge for us. I think all of the kids had beaten themselves down mentally before the game started," she said. "Although the younger players didn't go through that experience, boy we sure were hearing it."
North Lamar forced turnovers on nine of the Lady Cats' first 10 possession and took an 11-4 lead into the second period after scoring the final six points of the initial frame.
Jordan scored all four of the Lady Cats' early points, and she finished with seven points.
On their first two possessions of the second period, a putback bucket by Kaytlin Black and a long jumper from Jordan pulled the Lady Cats to within 11-8. But, they wouldn't score another field goal until Connally's putback with a minute gone in the third period. By then, SSHS trailed, 31-11.
North Lamar's shooting touch heated up in the second half as the Pantherettes made 19-of-31 shots from the field.
Though Connally had six points in the third period and junior guard Emily Bouyear knocked down a jumper late in the period, the Lady Cats trailed 52-17 heading into the final period. Bouyear finished with two points and a team-high two assists.
SSHS sophomore Starkeisha Wright had game-high 10 rebounds, but North Lamar held a 32-25 edge in rebounding. Connally led the Lady Cats in steals with three.
For North Lamar, Elmore, Ali Stone, Emily Fouse and Anderson all had at least four steals.
N. Lamar 25, SSHS 20
PARIS - The Lady Cats outscored North Lamar, 15-12, in the second half, but couldn't overcome a eight-point, first half deficit.
Kayle Askins and Nesha Miles led the Lady Cats in scoring with five points each, while Jaime Askins and Rachel Johnson each scored four. Amy Highfield added two.