Lady Cats in fourth place after loss to Lady Tigers

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

Jan. 31, 2007 - MOUNT PLEASANT - Jasmine King got involved offensively at just the wrong time for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats.

King, 5-11 senior post for Mount Pleasant, scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in the second half Tuesday to help the Lady Tigers pull away to a 52-39 victory.

Sulphur Springs never led in the game, but had cut a 13-point deficit down to five points by halftime with a late second-quarter run. King then scored six straight points to open the third quarter and six more at the start of the fourth period to give the Lady Tigers some breathing room.

"We couldn't shut their inside game down, and they shut ours down in the second half," said SSHS head coach Tina Carrillo. "We had another two bad quarters, the first and third."

The loss keeps the Lady Cats (3-5 in district, 19-10 overall) in fourth place, one game behind Texas High (4-4), a 60-46 loser to North Lamar. The Lady Cats need to win their final two games against Lindale and Paris and have Texas High lose one game to create a tie for third place.

Mount Pleasant and North Lamar have already clinched playoff berths.

Mount Pleasant took a 15-5 lead in the first period behind Destiny Smith, who scored eight of her 11 points in the period. She was one of three Lady Tigers to score in double figures along with King (who also had 13 rebounds and six blocked shots) and Denise Amador with 10 points.

Sulphur Springs was led in scoring by Mackenzie Cross, Starkeisha Wright and Stefanie Pruitt,who all had eight points. Wright also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Lady Cats found themselves down by 13 points, 20-7, after Amador knocked down a 3-pointer two minutes into the second period. But, Pruitt answered with a trey of her own on the next possession and the Lady Cats outscored Mount Pleasant 15-7 over the final 5:30 of the half.

Shardae Jones, who had six points and four rebounds, hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second-quarter run and Cross scored off a steal and a pull-up jumper in the lane to bring the Lady Cats to within 27-22 at halftime.

"We started out the game slow, and from then on out, you play catch-up," Carrillo explained. "We had a surge in the second quarter, and then in the third quarter they came back out and outscored us."

Mount Pleasant started the third period on an 11-2 run that was finally halted by Pruitt's 12-foot jumper with 4:52 to play. Then, SSHS senior Emily Bouyear had a putback basket and a 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds to get the Lady Cats to within 43-31 heading into the final period.

King opened the fourth quarter with five straight points to put Mount Pleasant up by 17 points (48-31) to close the door on the Lady Cats' comeback hopes.

Sulphur Springs shot 29 percent from the field (13-of-45) while Mount Pleasant hit 22-of-49 (45 percent). SSHS won the rebounding battle, 34-31 as Stephanie Conley had six boards to go with two steals and two assists.

"They legitimately beat us, and they played like the 10th-ranked team in the state last night," Carrillo said. "They had three players in double figures while we didn't have any. When you can't generate any offense, this is what happens - you get beat."

Sulphur Springs hosts Lindale (1-7) on Friday in the home finale. A win coupled with a Mount Pleasant victory over Texas High would put the Lady Cats tied with Texas High for the third and final playoff spot with one game to go.

JUNIOR VARSITY

MP 42, SSHS 36 (OT)

The Lady Cats weren't able to score in the overtime period after coming from a 3-point deficit late in regulation to tie the score.

Stevie Moore led the team with 22 points and six rebounds, and Talea Reynolds had six points and eight boards. Melanie Hudson put in four points and had four boards.

Alyssa Burney grabbed 15 rebounds to go with two points and two steals, and Jamie Askins added two points, four rebounds and two assists. Erika Garrett led the team in assists with three.

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