Pulling Away: Lady Cats distance themselves from Quitman in second half
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Dec. 12, 2007 - SSHS girls basketball coach Tina Carrillo wasn't entirely satisfied with her team's execution in Tuesday's 15-point victory over Quitman, but with the demanding four-game schedule coming up, she was happy to get a win.
The Lady Cats improved their record to 8-7 with the 53-38 win over Quitman at Wildcat Gym, but now face an imposing schedule until District 11-4A play begins on Jan. 4. They face Winnsboro, the No. 2 team in Class 2A, on Friday, then follow it up with games against North Mesquite, Longview and Royse City before the end of the month.
"Overall, I'm happy to get a win here, especially with the teams we have coming up. None of those are slouches," Carrillo said. "Overall, it was a good win for us."
The Lady Cats got a combined 16 points and 13 rebounds from forwards Delandria Pryor and Stephanie Conley in the second half to pull away after leading by just four points, 24-20, at halftime. Conley posted another double-double, her fourth of the season, with 12 points and 17 rebounds. Pryor finished the game with 12 points and four rebounds, and senior Starkeisha Wright added 11 points and four boards.
Sulphur Springs led by just three points, 30-27, with three minutes to play in the third quarter, but then went on a 9-0 run to close out the period and take a double-digit lead. Wright started the run with a conventional 3-point play, then Conley and Wright each had putback buckets, followed by a short jumper from Pryor off an inbound pass from Stefanie Pruitt.
In the fourth quarter, Quitman whittled the deficit to seven points, 45-38, with 2:30 to play on six straight points by Lindsey Weems, who had 13 points and four rebounds to pace the Lady Bulldogs.
But, then SSHS junior point guard Mackenzie Cross penetrated into the lane and dished an assist to Conley with 95 seconds to play to give the Lady Cats a safe nine-point lead. Cross finished with four points and team-highs in steals (six) and assists (four).
Sulphur Springs couldn't get a safe lead in the first half as Quitman matched the Lady Cats point-for-point for the first 15 minutes. The Lady Bulldogs took their biggest lead, at four points (18-14), with 3:51 to play in the second quarter on Amy Swanner's drive. The Lady Cats, though, came back to tie the score and take a four-point halftime advantage by scoring six consecutive points on a pull-up seven-footer by Pryor, a lay-up from Conley off a Cross steal, and a 12-foot jumper by Ashanti Ivery.
"We struggled a little bit in the first half," Carrillo said. "I felt like we made some careless mistakes and gave up a lot of high-percentage, easy baskets to Quitman. We just weren't moving our feet on defense. Our on-ball defense, we struggled there. We're also having a hard time helping, then when we help, we're not helping the helper so it breaks us down defensively."
The Lady Cats were able, in the second half, to force Quitman into some missed shots, and the Lady Bulldogs finished the game shooting just 31 percent from the field (14-of-45). SSHS hit 42 percent (22-of-53). Both teams made just 1-of-8 from 3-point land.
The Lady Cats, led by Conley's double-double, held a significant advantage on the boards, out-rebounding Quitman 39-20, including 14-5 on the offensive end.
The Lady Cats will face Carrillo's alma mater, Winnsboro, on Friday at Wildcat Gym. The freshmen game is set to start at 4:30 p.m., with the JV and varsity to follow.
SSHS 44, Quitman 19
Sulphur Springs JV improved to 13-3 by outscoring Quitman in every quarter.
Melanie Hudson led the team in scoring with 11 points and had three rebounds, while Kayla Phillips and Talea Reynolds scored eight points each. Reynolds had nine rebounds and Phillips four.
Kayle Askins scored six points and came up with four steals and two assists, Alyssa Burney had five points, three steals and three assists, and Jamie Askins recorded two points, three steals and four assists. Chasity Hall added two points, three steals, Justine Hatley had two points and three steals and Linsey Fouse added two rebounds.