Big Obstacle: Blocked shot preserves Royse City victory
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Jan. 2, 2008 - ROYSE CITY - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats had one final shot Monday afternoon to go into the district schedule with a come-from-behind win, but they couldn't overcome one very big obstacle - Royse City center Kellie Wyrick.
Wyrick, who stands 6-2, swatted away a potential winning shot by Sulphur Springs center Starkeisha Wright in the lane with four seconds left, and the Lady Cats couldn't get off another attempt in a 45-44 loss to the Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Cats will go into the District 11-4A campaign with an 8-11 record when they host Texas High on Friday in the district opener.
Sulphur Springs had a chance to break a three-game losing streak in the final minute when sophomore Stefanie Pruitt put them ahead, 44-43, with her fourth 3-pointer of the game. But Royse City's Taylor Howard scored on a driving layup with 17 seconds left to give the Lady Bulldogs a 45-44 advantage.
Pruitt finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with four assists and five rebounds. Jessica Savage hit a pair of three pointers to finish with eight points and four assists. Combined with a long-range shot from Ashanti Ivery, the Lady Cats made 7-of-18 from beyond the arc and scored almost half of their points (21) from the 3-point line.
Royse City (7-10) was led by 17 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots from Wyrick and and a fine all-around game from Howard, who finished with eight points, nine rebounds, six steals and eight assists.
The first quarter was a see-saw affair in which Savage and Pruitt each hit a 3-pointer for Sulphur Springs, but Royse City took a 14-8 advantage on two straight buckets from Wyrick in the low post.
In the second period, though, the Lady Cats held Royse City to 1-of-10 shooting from the field and took a 17-16 halftime lead as senior Stephanie Conley hit a pair of buckets for four of her six points. She also had nine rebounds.
The SSHS lead reached four points at 22-18 when Savage buried a long 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:40 gone in the third period. The Lady Bulldogs countered, though, with a 10-0 run to go up 28-22. The Lady Cats finally stopped the run when junior guard Mackenzie Cross converted a steal into a layup. Pruitt scored the Lady Cats' final six points of the quarter, but Royse City got 3-pointers from Carmisha Harper and Sam Mullen to take a 34-30 lead into the final period.
SSHS retook the lead at 40-39 by forcing four straight Royse City turnovers midway through the fourth quarter.
Royse City's Howard put the Lady Bulldogs back on top, 41-40, with 1:45 to play when she got her own rebound and scored in the lane. SSHS tied the score when Wright made 1-of-2 free throws with 48 seconds left. But, Howard immediately gave the Lady Bulldogs a two-point lead on a back door layup eight seconds later.
Pruitt and Howard then traded baskets, but the Lady Bulldogs came up with the big defensive play when the game was on the line.
Sulphur Springs finished the game shooting 18-of-55 from the field (32.7 percent) compared to 19-of-42 (45.2 percent) for Royse City. Each team went to the free throw line just five times, with SSHS making just one charity shot, while Royse City made all five of theirs.
SSHS 30, Royse City 27
The Lady Cats improved their record to 16-5 as they never trailed in the game. They did have to hold off a late Royse City charge, but Jamie Askins came up with a front court steal with five seconds remaining in the game to keep Royse City from getting off a final shot.
The Lady Cats were led in scoring by Chasity Hall and JaMonica Hall with eight points each. Chasity also had five rebounds. Talea Reynolds and Kayla Phillips each scored four points and grabbed four rebounds. Melanie Hudson had two points and seven boards, Jamie Askins had two points and two assists and Kayle Askins added two points, three rebounds and two assists.
Alyssa Burney added three rebounds, two steals and two assists and Linsey Fouse had two rebounds and one steal.
Royse City 37, SSHS 8
The Lady Cats had a rough offensive outing, getting three points from Frankeisha Hawkins, two points from Bre Edwards and two points from Kyri Ivery. Caitlyn Nix added one point, seven rebounds and four steals.