|Lady Cats fall to 0-3 in district with loss to Paris|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Jan. 14, 2006 - PARIS - It was another near-miss for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats on Friday.
The Lady Cats, looking for their first district win, slashed a 19-point second-half deficit to four points in the fourth quarter, but the comeback stalled in a 52-43 loss to district-leading Paris.
Paris (14-11 overall 3-0 in District 12-4A) used it size and athleticism to go up 35-16 as Lametrius Edwards scored six straight points to open the second half. But, from there the Lady Cats (8-15, 0-3) staged an eight-minute comeback that got them to within two possessions of tying the game.
The comeback started when freshman guard McKenzie Cross made two free throws after being fouled when she hauled in an offensive rebound. That was important, because Paris had beaten the Lady Cats badly on the offensive boards in the first half.
Paris had 19 offensive rebounds to three for Sulphur Springs in the first two periods as they built a double-digit advantage.
The Lady Cats turned the game around by playing better defense - forcing 10 Paris turnovers in the third quarter - sparked by the play of sophomore guard Shardae Jones off the bench. Jones energized the team with seven steals, six rebounds and seven points.
Combined with the team-high 15 points (nine in the second half) and three steals from Cross, the Lady Cats pulled to within 37-29 by the start of the fourth quarter. Sophomore Stephanie Connally also had a hand in the comeback with a pair of putback baskets late in the third period.
In the fourth quarter, senior Whitney Jordan converted back-to-back baskets to pull the Lady Cats to within seven points, then Jones came up with a backcourt steal and hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to make the score 41-37 with 5:30 to play.
Jones' bucket, though, would be the last field goal the Lady Cats would make until Cross splashed in a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the game.
By that time, Paris had opened up a 10-point lead - the biggest blow was a 3-pointer from Andrea Wallace with three minutes to play.
Sulphur Springs held Paris' leading scorer Ketria Brown to 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting, but Edwards added 13 points, eight rebounds and seven steals, and Wallace and Laterrany Gill each contributed seven points.
For Sulphur Springs, Jordan contributed 11 points and three steals, and Connally added eight rebounds to go with four points. But, the Lady Cats' leading scorer and rebounder, senior Bridgette Nash, was again beset by foul problems and managed just one point and three rebounds before fouling out.
Sophomore post Starkeisha Wright pulled down seven rebounds and blocked two shots, while guards Kaytlin Black and Emily Bouyear combined for five rebounds and two steals.
The Lady Cats hit just 15-of-52 shots from the field (28.8 percent) and were just 11-of-21 from the line. Paris shot just 17-of-59 (28.8 percent as well) and made only 13-of-28 charity shots.
Paris out-rebounded SSHS, 45-36, including 25-15 on the offensive boards.
Sulphur Springs must now travel to Mount Pleasant on Tuesday in a critical contest to keep their playoff hopes alive. Tip-off for the varsity contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Paris 60, SSHS 24
Paris also used a huge advantage in offensive rebounding to take the victory.
Brittany Scott led the Lady Cats' offense with nine points, and freshman Erika Garrett added five points and three boards. Freshman Alyssa Burney came up with four points and a team-high six rebounds.
Jennifer Mitchell added two points and two assists, freshman Stevie Moore had three points and four rebounds, Tasha Lee contributed one point and four rebounds and Janelle Davis added a team-high five steals and a block.
SSHS 30, Paris 26
The Lady Cats held Paris to just three points in the fourth quarter to stage a comeback victory.
Nesha Miles led the squad with 14 points, while Kayle Askins added nine. Jaime Askins contributed four points, Molly Smith two, and Rachel Johnson one.