(Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Academy girls' basketball team got its 20th win of the season Friday night in front of a home crowd.
The Lady Volunteers got to 20 by winning by 20.
Starkville Academy beat the Presbyterian Christian Lady Bobcats 65-45.
It took the Lady Vols one quarter to get comfortable to the intensity level the Lady Bobcats played with.
"I felt like early we both got into the game and they made a run on us," SA head coach Glenn Schmidt said. "We fouled them like crazy. We couldn't catch Trista Magee. She is a pretty good player for them so we fouled her. It took us a minute to adjust."
The Lady Vols took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter. They made sure going into the locker room that it wasn't going to be that close.
SA opened up the second quarter on an 18-2 run to push its lead to 32-14.
Schmidt didn't have to say anything to her team to get them going.
Tweaking their gameplan a little bit was all the difference.
"Nothing," Schmidt said of what she said after the first quarter. "I didn't say anything. The only thing we wanted to do the second quarter was not foul them, bear down a little harder on defense, get every defensive rebound and just get into a rhythm offensively. Start moving, just start moving, cutting and getting into our offense."
They outscored the Lady Bobcats 21-5 in the second frame to take a 35-17 lead at intermission.
Sallie Kate Richardson got going in the second half. She scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half.
"She struggled early, she got the fouls early and then it was very obvious they were going to let her have the ball," Schmidt said. "They pushed her out of the lane a little bit, were going to let her have the ball and guard everybody else. It took her three or four shots but she got it down."
The defense stepped up again for the Lady Vols. Schmidt thought it was one of their best games on the defensive end.
"We played some good defense," Schmidt said. "We gave up some baskets late in the fourth quarter to keep from stopping the clock and fouling them. For the most part, I thought our kids played as great a defense as we have all year."
The Lady Vols held the Lady Bobcats to less than 36 percent shooting from the field and only 16.7 percent from behind the arc (1-of-6).
PC had a size advantage on SA, but the rebounds did not reflect that. The Lady Vols out-rebounded the opposition 30-19.
"Player for player, they were bigger than we were," Schmidt said. "But basketball is a game of position and we absolutely used our position on the boards."
The Lady Bobcats were led by Magee with 18 points. Monica Breland added 17.
SA was led by Nora Kathryn Carroll with 18 points, Tiffany Huddleston with 16 points, and Richardson and Anna Lea Little with 14 each. The Lady Vols improved their records to 20-3 and 6-0 in district.
Presbyterian Christian 47,
Starkville Academy 38
The Volunteers led at halftime, but a bad third quarter was the difference in the ball game.
SA took a 27-22 lead into the locker room and Vols head coach Mark Alexander knew the Bobcats were going to come out and try and change the game.
"They stepped their game up a lot," Alexander said. "We really didn't respond to the challenge. We told them at halftime that they were going be ready to play. They made a few adjustments. They started doubling the ball on screens and we just made some turnovers. They got it in the open floor."
The Bobcats opened up the second half on two Tanner Myatt 3s to take a 28-27 lead. They added another two before Zachary Gerhart made a two. That was the only points in the third quarter for the Volunteers.
PC closed out the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 39-29 lead.
"Second half, they got it more in their tempo and (Myatt) hit some big shots," Alexander said. "To me, he is their best player. He is a heck of a player. I knew he was going to get it going at some point and he hit two big 3s there in that third quarter and that sparked their run in the third quarter."
The Vols played as well as they have played all year in the first half. Their 2-3 zone defense seemed to confuse the Bobcats and the Volunteers took advantage of it.
They led for most of the first quarter, but ended the quarter tied at 12 after Evan Eustachy knocked down a three for the Bobcats.
SA scored the first four points of the second quarter to take the lead. The Bobcats knocked down two free throws, but the Volunteers followed it with a 10-0 run to push their lead out.
"First half, we played about as good a half as we have played in a long time," Alexander said. "I was very, very pleased. We had the game at our tempo just like we wanted it."
The Volunteers kept competing in the fourth quarter, but it may have been a little to late.
They cut the PC lead down to nine at 47-39 with 20 seconds to go, but the score remained there.
"Once we got down, I thought we competed," Alexander said. "We played pretty good in the fourth quarter. So that's three good quarters and that's progress from where we have been the last four games. So I'm pleased with that. By no means pleased that we lost."
The Bobcats were led by Myatt's 16 points. Allen Winford chipped in 12 points.
Carnail Minor led the Volunteers with a game-high 19 points. Both SA squads will be back in action today when they travel to Gallman to take on Copiah Academy.
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