Lady Cats clamp down on T-High
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor
Jan. 23, 2008 - TEXARKANA - In a game predicated on defense Tuesday night, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats came up with a pair of key stops to hold off Texas High, 34-32.
Texas High junior guard Camille Stuckey penetrated the lane to attempt to tie the game with two seconds left, but was stripped of the ball by SSHS senior Jessica Savage and the Lady Tigers never got a shot off as the buzzer sounded.
Savage, who had a game-high five steals, also created a turnover with 40 seconds left and the Lady Cats holding a two-point lead.
"Fortunately we were able to get that strip at the end and keep them from even attempting that last shot," said SSHS head coach Tina Carrillo. "I thought we did a good job defensively of keying in on Camille Stuckey. She's their top player, and she had a good game."
Stuckey had a game-high 16 points, but only three came in the final quarter.
With the win, Sulphur Springs improved to 3-3 in District 11-4A (11-14 overall) and are tied with Lindale for third place in district.
The Lady Cats took a seven-point advantage, 30-23, with 5:20 play in the game, but Texas High went on a 7-2 run, keyed by a backcourt steal and layup by Melissa Miller to pull to within 32-30 with 1:40 remaining.
SSHS sophomore guard Stefanie Pruitt hit a pair of free throws to give the Lady Cats a 34-30 lead with 34 seconds left, but Texas High's Maj Morgan put in an offensive rebound to cut the deficit to two 15 seconds later. SSHS missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds remaining to set the stage for Stuckey's final aborted drive.
"I think collectively at the end we came together to at least get some hands in on her," Carrillo said. "We took our chances at the end and luckily came away with a no call."
The game had a slow, methodical pace as the teams combined for just 65 field goal attempts. Both teams shot about 40 percent from the field.
"Our girls don't like that slow tempo, but we ended up having to do the same thing because we weren't hitting from the outside," Carrillo said.
The Lady Cats found success inside as senior post Starkeisha Wright finished with 15 points and six rebounds, hitting 6-of-9 field goals. Mackenzie Cross added seven points, including her first 3-pointer of the year, but Sulphur Springs hit just 3-of-12 from beyond the arc as Texas High did a good job of extending their defense. When they did, though, it opened up for Wright inside.
"Our go-to player on the inside was Star, and we had some success getting the ball to her inside. Those are point-blank layups, so why not take those when you can get them?" Carrillo asked rhetorically. "This was a game where we could get those high-percentage shots. We had a height advantage and a strength advantage."
Texas High (0-6, 2-21) was searching for its first district victory, and took a five-point lead in the second period on the strength of three 3-pointers, including two by Cydney Minter. But, Sulphur Springs forced five straight turnovers and retook the lead, 19-18, at halftime. in the run, Wright hit three buckets and Cross converted a Pruitt steal into a layup.
The Lady Cats trailed just once more, and that was when Stuckey scored three consecutive points for Texas High to go up 21-20. Wright, though, converted a old-fashioned 3-point play and Pruitt turned a steal into a layup to re-establish the Lady Cats' lead.
Sulphur Springs forced 16 Texas High turnovers while committing just eight themselves and doubled the Lady Tigers in steals, 12-6.
Sulphur Springs now face three important games - back-to-back home games against North Lamar (Friday) and Mount Pleasant (Tuesday), then a road trip to Lindale. North Lamar (6-0) and Mount Pleasant (5-1) are at the top of the district standings.
SSHS 39, Texas High 29
JaMonica Hall scored 12 points and had three rebounds and three steals to pace the Lady Cats (5-1 in district) to their 21st win of the season.
Talea Reynolds added eight points and four rebounds, Kayla Phillips put in seven points, Alyssa Burney had five points and Kayle Askins added five points and three assists. Linsey Fouse scored two points, and Jamie Askins had four assists.
Texas High 37, SSHS 24
Bre Edwards and Frankeisha Hawkins each had five points for SSHS (2-4, 6-18), and Megan Massey added four points.
Caitlyn Nix had three points, seven rebounds and two steals, Tyesha Thomas and Ariel Spataro put in two points each, and Kyri Ivery had two points and five rebounds. Taylor Eastwood recorded one point and two boards.