|Lady Cats notch first district win over Greenville|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Jan. 21, 2006 - The Lady Cats entered a string of must-win games Friday night in which they needed to win at least five of their next six to have a playoff hope.
One down, four to go.
The Lady Cats notched their first District 12-4A victory on Friday and extended Greenville's long losing streak with a 59-28 win at Wildcat Gym.
Stephanie Connally put up 14 points and 19 rebounds, both of them season-highs for the SSHS sophomore and the most rebounds by a Lady Cat this season, senior Bridgette Nash added 15 points and eight offensive boards, and guards McKenzie Cross and Shardae Jones each hit a pair of 3-pointers and dished out four assists as the Lady Cats improved to 9-16 overall, 1-4 in 12-4A.
They will go to Texarkana on Tuesday to play Texas High (12-12, 3-2), which has lost its last two games to fall into third place in the district.
SSHS head coach Tina Carrillo would like to see the same execution then that she saw on Friday. The Lady Cats committed just five turnovers and out-rebounded Greenville, 44-31.
"Just five turnovers - it couldn't have come at a better time with us coming out in a district game on our home court," Carrillo said. "Maybe being able to protect the basketball will boost us in our next game."
The Lady Cats took 74 shots from the field as they scrapped for 26 offensive rebounds. They also held Greenville to just eight offensive boards, the first time in district play the opposition had less than 10.
"They were fighting over the boards tonight, and I think that's partly because I gave them an ultimatum that they had to get so many or we were going to run wind sprints," said Carrillo. "It looked like they were fighting over boards because we really were."
The Lady Cats took a 2-0 lead on a pair of free throws from Whitney Jordan, who had eight points and six steals, just four seconds into the game. The only time they didn't lead was for about 50 seconds in the first period when Greenville's Ali Trower knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 7-7.
Connally broke the tie with conventional 3-point play and the lady Cats led, 14-11, at the end of the first period.
Connally's play on the boards was inspiring. The 5-10 sophomore had 12 by halftime.
"She was like a windshield wiper,' Carrillo said. "She was cleaning up the glass."
Her rebounding effort helped keep Greenville from getting second shots, and that put the Lady Lions in a hole.
They went almost 12 minutes spanning the second and third quarters and scored just one field goal and one free throw. During that time, Sulphur Springs went from a 3-point lead (14-11) to a 24-point advantage (38-14).
In the second quarter, Nash and Jordan combined for 10 points and the Lady Cats held Greenville to 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
"We played as a unit, and we played as a team. We looked inspired, " Carrillo explained. "We got some deflections, and we took away some of their good looks at the basket because we had such good pressure defense.
"When you can pressure every pass to the point that it makes the offense uncomfortable, then it takes them out of their offensive game and it doesn't allow them to get into any kind of offensive rhythm. I've very proud of our defense and our hustle."
Ahead 29-14 at halftime, the lady Cats went on a 9-0 run, punctuated by a Cross 3-pointer, to open the third quarter. After Greenville's Michelle McClure hit a 3-pointer on the Lady Lions' next possession, SSHS sophomore Jones answered with a trey of her own.
Cross ended the game with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals, and Jones added eight points, four boards and two steals.
They each hit another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter as SSHS led by 37 points at one point (59-22).
SSHS senior Kaytlin Black added two points and she and Emily Bouyear each had a steal apiece as the Lady Cats totaled 18 take-aways. Sophomore Star Wright added two points and two steals.
Greenville 49, SSHS 34
The Lady Cats scored just two points in the third quarter to fall behind by 21 points, then pulled to within 10 points in the final period.
Brittany Scott scored a team-high 12 points to go with three steals, and Tasha Lee added five points and eight rebounds. Stevie Moore scored six points.
Alyssa Burney led the team in rebounding with 10 boards to go with four points, while Tasha lee added two points and seven boards, Jennifer Mitchell had two points, six rebounds, three steals and five assists, and Erika Garrett contributed three points, eight rebounds, two steals and two assists.
But, the lady Cats hit just 2-of-22 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Greenville 33, SSHS 29
Neisha Miles had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, but the Lady Cats couldn't overcome a 17-9 halftime deficit.
Racheal Johnson added six points and nine rebounds, Jamie Askins scored four points and had six boards, Kayle Askins added two points, four steals and three assists, and Molly Smith added two points and 10 boards.