(Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Lady Yellowjackets showed what a little bit of defensive intensity could do Friday night.
Starkville used a full-court pressure in the first half of the Class 5A, Region 3, District 4 outing and gained control of the situation early on the way to a 60-36 victory over the Yazoo City Lady Indians at the Beehive.
The Lady Jackets, who improved to 9-7 overall and 1-2 in the division, gave head coach Kristie Williams exactly what she wanted to start the game.
"We wanted to start out with a great amount of intensity because it was a district game and we hadn't won one yet," Williams said. "We knew we had to go out and play tough against Yazoo because we didn't want to fall 0-3 in the district."
Yazoo City appeared to be frustrated by the pressure in the second quarter and only made two field goals.
After establishing a 16-9 lead at the end of first quarter, Starkville poured it on in the second quarter and out-scored the Lady Indians 20-4 to take a 36-13 advantage into the halftime break.
The Lady Jackets scored the first nine points of the frame and went on an 11-0 run after the Lady Indians scored at the 4:38 mark.
Starkville scored the first seven points of the game on a pair of baskets by Brittany Brown and a 3-point field goal by Jacqueline Fair.
Brown had 12 points in the second quarter for the Lady Jackets.
"We didn't let them do anything because (Williams) told us to come out strong," Brown said. "We came out strong in the first two quarters and did what we had to do."
Yazoo City went on an 8-0 run in the third quarter to close the gap to 38-21, but Starkville got back the momentum to secure the 22-point win.
Williams still wants her squad to continue playing hard despite the score.
"You can't let the scoreboard dictate how you play," Williams said. "We tend to have moments when we look up and see we're up by 15, but you can never do that. You've got to play until you hear that last horn sound."
Brown led the Lady Jackets with 20 points, while Janay Townsel added 11 points and Imane Montgomery contributed 10 points.
Williams was happy to see Brown continue to step up and be a leader, but saw the point-production from Montgomery off the bench as a lift to the team.
"She was in double figures again so it was a big plus to have her come off the bench and picking up key points," Williams said. "She is becoming our x-factor this year and that's really good as we go down the stretch."
Starkville plays today at the Rush Extravaganza, hosted by Meridian Community College. The opponent is Meridian at noon.
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