Lady Cats start tourney off with a bang

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

Nov. 16, 2007 - QUINLAN - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats started the Quinlan Ford Roundball Round-up Tournament off with a bang on Thursday, whipping Paris Chisum 81-21 in the opening round.

The Lady Cats (2-1) got a career-high 27 points from junior guard Mackenzie Cross, who had a near-triple double with 10 steals and seven assists. Senior forward Stephanie Conley added 18 points and 15 rebounds and senior post Starkeisha Wright contributed 15 points and nine boards.

Overall, the Lady Cats forced 40 Chisum turnovers and held the Lady Mustangs (0-2) to 21 percent shooting from the field (8-of-39).

It took the Lady Cats about 90 seconds into the game to get on the scoreboard, but once they did, they didn't stop. Sulphur Springs scored at least 22 points in three of the four quarters and held Chisum to five points or less in three periods.

The Lady Cats took an 8-0 advantage on a jumper from sophomore Stephanie Pruitt, two putback baskets from Wright and a putback from junior Delandria Lewis. Chisum's Brandy Carroll broke the run with a short jumper, but it was the only Lady Mustang basket in the game's first 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

By the time Chisum scored again, the Lady Cats had a 22-2 advantage, which is how the first quarter ended.

SSHS only outscored Chisum 14-10 in the second period to go in at halftime with a 36-12 lead. Conley had six of her points in the period.

Cross took over the game in the second half, scoring 11 points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth. Many of her points came off steals and lay-ups. She ended up making 11-of-17 shots from the field.

Conley also had a great percentage shooting as she hit 9-of-11 field goal attempts to go with five steals, three assists and two blocks.

Overall, the Lady Cats made 33-of-65 shots from 2-point land and 2-of-16 from beyond the arc. They out-rebounded Chisum 45-27 and came up with 29 steals compared to three for the Lady Mustangs.

Pruitt finished the game with nine points for Sulphur Springs, while senior guard Jessica Savage added four points, four assists and three steals.

The Lady Cats were scheduled to face the winner between Rockwall Heath and Nevada Community at 6 p.m. today in the tournament's semifinals. If they win, they will play in the championship at 6 p.m. Saturday. A loss would have them playing at 3 p.m. Saturday for third place.

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