Lady Panthers take advantage of third quarter adjustment

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Dec. 5, 2007 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats knew what was coming from Princeton in the second half of Tuesday's game. They just couldn't adjust to it quickly enough.

Princeton coach Dexter Ivy made a concerted effort to take away the 3-point shooting of SSHS senior Jessica Savage after halftime, and it worked well enough for the fourth-ranked team in Class 3A to pull out a 48-38 victory at Wildcat Gym.

The Lady Panthers (8-2) outscored SSHS 15-3 in the third quarter to take a double-digit lead they held for almost all of the rest of the game.

Savage finished with five 3-pointers to lead the team with 15 points. Senior post Starkeisha Wright added 10 points, eight of them coming in the final 4:25 of the game, and one rebound, and junior Mackenzie Cross finished with eight assists, four points and three rebounds.

"Jessica had an unbelievable game," said SSHS head coach Tina Carrillo. "We talked at halftime about not depending on her shot to carry us in the second half, because he (Ivy) is a good coach and I knew he was going to prevent that from happening.

"Sure enough, that's what happened. It did open it up inside in the second half, but we didn't have Starkeisha take advantage of that quickly enough."

Sulphur Springs (6-5) was able to cut the Princeton lead to eight points (44-36) with 2:35 to play in the fourth quarter when senior Stephanie Conley grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in. But Princeton pulled the ball out in the stall to put the game away.

Conley led the team in rebounding with five, but hurt her left leg in the final 30 seconds of the game and will not play in the Commerce tournament this weekend.

The Lady Cats led much of the first quarter, thanks to the shooting of Savage, who hit three from long range in a span of 2:20. Their biggest lead of the game (15-11) came with 1:10 to play when Savage hit a long 3-pointer off an assist from Cross.

Princeton's Hayley Fields answered right back with a trey of her own, though. Princeton eventually took a five-point lead with 1:40 to go in the half, but then Savage bombed another 3-pointer and senior Shardae Jones hit a putback bucket right before the buzzer to tie the game.

"I saw a great first half, a very competitive first half," Carrillo said. "It seemed like the momentum swung our way at the end of the first half when Shardae got that offensive rebound and put it back in.

"But, we didn't take advantage of that. We came out and had two or three turnovers and it seemed as if we came out a little flat in the third quarter and didn't adjust to the flow. They outscored us in the third quarter, and that's the quarter that got us."

Princeton was led by Whitney Coffey with 14 points and six rebounds, while Sarah Ivy added nine points and Jordan Strickland put in six points and a game-high seven rebounds.

Sulphur Springs will take to the court at 4:30 p.m. Thursday when they play in the Commerce tournament. Their first-round game will be against Dallas Hillcrest (2-8) in the Commerce High School gym.

Junior Varsity

SSHS 38, Princeton 30

The Lady Cats pulled away from Princeton in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to Kayla Phillips, who had six of her 10 points in the final period. Talea Reynolds led SSHS (9-2) with 17 points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Cats persevered despite hitting just 2-of-18 from beyond the arc.

Ja Monica Hall had four points and five rebounds, Kayle Askins added four assists, Jamie Askins had four rebounds and three steals, Chasity Hall scored two points, Melanie Hudson had three points and four boards, and Alyssa Burney had two rebounds and two steals.

Freshmen

SSHS 31, Princeton 13

The SS ninth-graders improved their record to 4-6, having won three of their last four games.

Megan Massey, Frankeisha Hawkins and Ariel Spataro each scored six points to pace the Lady Cats. Tyesha Thomas had four points, Kyrie Ivery had three points and three rebounds, Cydnie Finney scored two points and had two rebounds, and Taylor Eastwood and Caitlyn Nix each had two points and three boards.

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