Lady Cats lose final game before Christmas break

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

Dec. 18, 2007 - MESQUITE - North Mesquite got off to a good start Monday and didn't let the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' good finish spoil their evening.

The Lady Stallions muscled their way to an early seven-point lead and never trailed in taking a 48-41 victory in their home gym.

North Mesquite used the inside duo of powerful 6-3 Krishunda Harvey and athletic 6-1 Katherine Bell to combine for 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, and got 15 points from guard Brittany Scott, and seven assists and five steals from University of Houston-bound guard Cambria Smith.

Sulphur Springs trailed by 18 points late in the third quarter, but was able to cut the lead to single digits as Stevie Moore hit three 3-pointers en route to a team-high 11 points and Mackenzie Cross finished with 10 points and four assists.

The Lady Cats (8-9) were uneven offensively, and head coach Tina Carrillo said they looked tired in the first half.

"We kind of went in spurts offensively. There were times we'd have lapses and let them get the momentum. Then, we'd come back in another spurt," Carrillo said. "We never seemed to get into a good rhythm until they went into a zone in the fourth quarter and we were able to hit some threes.

"The second half, we did a little bit better job of getting going offensively, and we were able to cut the lead to seven. By then, though, it was too late."

North Mesquite scored all of its first-half points in the lane as the Lady Stallions (10-7) took a 27-20 advantage at the break.

SSHS senior Stephanie Conley scored six of her seven total points in the first half. The Lady Cats got down by 10 points early in the second quarter, then made a 9-2 run to get within three points. The run started with Conley scoring inside, then Cross hit a jumper after senior Jessica Savage ran down a rebound and as she was going out of bounds, flipped the ball back to Cross. Savage then hit a long 3-pointer and Moore bucketed a putback to get SSHS to within 21-18. But, North Mesquite answered with six straight points, including two straight baskets by Smith off SSHS turnovers.

North Mesquite then opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 36-20 advantage. Six of the points came directly off steals as the Lady Stallions had 12 take-aways in the game, nine of them combined from Smith and Scott.

Moore broke the North Mesquite run with a 3-pointer, and hit another one right before the third-quarter buzzer to get SSHS to within 45-30.

Though the Lady Cats outscored North Mesquite 11-3 in the final period, there wasn't enough time for them to get back in the game.

"It just seemed like they had too many weapons," Carrillo said. "They had exceptional post play. They were making moves that we hadn't seen before, and their guard was excellent."

North Mesquite shot 20-of-38 from two-point land (53 percent), but was just 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. The Lady Cats had more success from 3-point territory, hitting 5-of-12 (42 percent), compared to 10-of-34 (29 percent) from inside the arc.

With Conley grabbing eight rebounds, the Lady Cats were able to pull off a standstill in the rebounding department. SSHS had 25 while North Mesquite ended with 28.

"We did an OK job against a Class 5A school that went 10-0 last year in district, won district and went three rounds deep in the playoffs," Carrillo said. "I was OK with the effort last night."

The Lady Cats won't play again until Dec. 28 when they host Longview.

The SSHS junior varsity improved its record to 14-4 with a 43-38 victory over North Mesquite. The Lady Cats were behind by 12 points in the second quarter, but staged a comeback.

The SSHS freshmen (4-11) lost 32-21.

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