|Lady Cats end three-game road swing on losing note|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Jan. 18, 2006 - MOUNT PLEASANT - It will feel good for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats to get back home.
After a fruitless three-game road swing ended Tuesday with a 44-42 loss to Mount Pleasant, the Lady Cats will return home on Friday to host Greenville. The welcome home couldn't come at a better time.
The Lady Cats had a six-point lead slip away in the final half of the fourth quarter on Tuesday in a heartbreaking loss that puts the SSHS record at 0-4 in District 12-4A, 8-15 overall.
The Lady Cats led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter, took a seven-point lead in the third period and had a 39-33 advantage with 5:45 to play in the game after back-to-back 3-pointers by sophomore Shardae Jones.
But, Mount Pleasant's Destiny Smith scored eight points in an 11-0 run that put the Lady Tigers ahead, 44-39 with 40 seconds to play.
Jones, who finished with four 3-pointers and a season-high 12 points, buried another trey with 30 seconds left to pull the Lady Cats to within 44-42. Then, SSHS sent MP's Denise Amador to the free throw line with 15 seconds to play. She missed the front end of the one-and-one and SSHS gained possession on the rebound.
SSHS junior Emily Bouyear took the ball near midcourt and drove to the bucket, where she drew contact, but officials did not call the foul. A tussle for the ensuing rebound ended in a jump ball with 2/10ths of a second remaining, and the possession arrow was in MP's favor. The Lady Tigers threw the ball in and the game was over.
It was a bitter pill for the Lady Cats, who were not pleased with the officiating. Head coach Tina Carrillo said the Lady Cats did not play well enough to overcome some calls that went Mount Pleasant's way.
"We had the upper hand in this game. We should have come home with a 'W,' " Carrillo said. "Part of the difference last night was officiating. We haven't had a lot of good officiating on the road, but I'm not going to give you a laundry list of excuses.
"Obviously, we didn't want it bad enough to do the fundamentals. We got out-rebounded last night, and that's the story of our lives right now."
Mount Pleasant had a 44-30 advantage on the boards, including a 21-11 lead in offensive rebounds.
MP's Smith had five offensive boards, which led to part of her team-high 16 points. Katara Wilson added 13 points for MP.
The Lady Cats were led offensively by Bridgette Nash, who scored 16 points and had three rebounds. Jones had 12 points and freshman McKenzie Cross added five points, five boards and five assists.
Cross and Jones each hit a 3-pointer in the first period as the Lady Cats took an 8-2 lead which they built to 12-7 by the end of the period as senior Whitney Jordan hit a long jumper right before the buzzer.
They went ahead, 25-15 with 1:51 to play in the second period on seven straight points, five of them from Nash and a bucket from Jordan off a steal. Jordan ended with four points and five steals.
But, MP closed to within 25-18 by halftime.
The Lady Tigers took their first lead of the game, 32-31, at the third-quarter buzzer on a putback by Wilson.
A bucket by sophomore Stephanie Connally and Jones' two treys gave the Lady Cats a 39-33 lead, but that wouldn't last. Connally finished with a team-high six rebounds.
Carrillo said playing at home may help the Lady Cats' confidence as they try to find a way to win some of the close games they have lost in district.
"Confidence is a big thing, and sometimes when you don't have confidence you find ways to lose," she said. "It's like the old Chinese proverb, 'Fall down seven times, get up eight.'
"We get to enjoy some time at home and get home at a decent hour. Maybe that will help the morale of the team."
Mount Pleasant 52, SSHS 35
The Lady Cats got in a big hole early and couldn't recover.
Erika Garrett's jumper with four minutes to play in the second quarter was the Lady Cats' first field goal and by that time, they were down by 20 points.
Stevie Moore led the team in scoring with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Garrett scored seven points on 3-of-6 shooting. Tasha Lee had a team-high 15 rebounds to go with seven points, and Janelle Davis had 10 rebounds and two points.
Jennifer Mitchell had a team-high four assists, while Alyssa Burney scored two points to go with five rebounds, and Brittany Scott had two points, three steals and three assists.
Mount Pleasant 29, SSHS 25
The Lady Cats had a five-point lead going into the final period, but Mount Pleasant outscored them, 12-5.
Jaime Askins led SSHS in scoring with nine points, while twin sister Kayle Askins added six. Nesha Miles put up four points, and April Wright and Molly Smith scored two points each.