Lady Cats take MP to OT before losing

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

Jan. 12, 2008 - MOUNT PLEASANT - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats have seen this before. Last year to be exact.

On Friday, the Lady Cats fell in overtime to the Mount Pleasant Lady Tigers, 48-44, at the Tiger Center, mirroring a loss to MP last season in the district's third game.

The good news for Sulphur Springs is, though, that they are 1-2 in District 11-4A, which is a game better than last season in which they finished tied for third. Mount Pleasant (3-0, 17-7) maintained a share of the district lead with North Lamar.

The Lady Cats (9-13) battled back from an eight-point deficit in the first quarter and a six-point hole in the second half to take a three-point lead in the fourth period on Mackenzie Cross' pull-up bank shot with 3:15 to play.

But, the Lady Cats managed just two more points in regulation, those coming on two free throws by senior Starkeisha Wright with 43 seconds to go that tied the game at 38-38. Wright finished with a game-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds, while Cross had nine points, three rebounds and three assists.

In between the points by Cross and Wright, MP scored five straight points on a 3-pointer from Angie Perez and a mid-court steal and layup from Aleah Robinson, who finished with 14 points. Mount Pleasant was led in scoring by Destiny Smith with 18 points, six rebounds and five steals.

Sulphur Springs never led in overtime, though they did tie the score at 40-40 midway through the extra period on two more free throws by Wright, who went 9-of-10 from the line. But, Smith then took over for MP, getting a putback basket on the next possession and then coming up with a backcourt steal and turning it into a pair of free throws.

Sulphur Springs had a chance with 30 seconds to play to cut the deficit to two points, but missed a pair of shots.

The Lady Cats had been getting excellent production from its 3-point shooters this season, but Mount Pleasant's defense took the long-range shots away. Sophomore Stefanie Pruitt came into the game with 37 3-pointers this season and had made at least one 3-pointer in 19 of the Lady Cats' 21 games. But, she did not get a long-range shot off, thanks to the in-your-face defense by MP's Katara Wilson. Overall, SSHS hit just 1-of-8 treys, that coming from Jessica Savage.

Mount Pleasant's defensive scheme did allow the Lady Cats to hit the boards, and they out-rebounded MP 32-24, led by Stephanie Conley's 12 boards. Conley also scored nine points.

But, the Lady Cats' suffered through a poor shooting night. They made just 31 percent of their shots (16-of-52), compared to 42 percent (16-of-38) for Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant came out strong in the first quarter, taking a 9-1 lead on a steal by Smith less than three minutes into the game. But, she soon picked up her second foul and was in foul trouble the remainder of the game.

SSHS fought back to get to within 13-10 by the end of the quarter, thanks to five points by Wright and three points and six boards from Conley.

Sulphur Springs again fell behind by eight points in the second period, but again cut the deficit to three points by halftime as they held MP scoreless over the final 2:30 of the period and got buckets from Stevie Moore and Wright.

The Lady Cats took a three-point lead in the second quarter as they forced turnovers on five consecutive MP possessions. Savage hit her 3-pointer during the run and Conley had a putback basket to give SSHS its first lead of the game, 28-27, with 1:47 to play in the period.

The Lady Cats will try to break their two-game losing streak when they host Lindale on Tuesday with the freshmen game to start the three-game set at 4:30 p.m. A win would keep the Lady Cats in third place in the district standings.

Junior Varsity

MP 37, SSHS 24

Kayla Phillips hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game, but the field goal was waved off by officials who ruled it came too late. Phillips had three points and nine rebounds.

Playing the second half without two starters out with injuries, SSHS (18-6, 2-1) lost its first district game. JaMonica Hall led the team in scoring with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals. Melanie Hudson added five points and five boards.

Jamie Askins had three rebounds and three steals, Kayle Askins had three rebounds and two steals, Alyssa Burney contributed six rebounds and two assists and Chasity Hall had four rebounds.

Freshmen

MP 29, SSHS 27

The Lady Cats fell behind by 11 points in the fourth quarter but came back to have a shot to tie the game in the closing seconds, but missed the shot.

Kyri Ivery led the team (5-15, 1-2) with 12 points and eight rebounds, Tyesha Thomas and Taylor Eastwood added four points each, Frankeisha Hawkins had three points, and Ariel Spataro and Cydnie Finnie scored two points each.

Caitlyn Nix had five rebounds and two steals, Bradyn Burney came up with three steals and two assists, and Bre Edwards had two rebounds and two steals.

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