Lady Vols take district win over Lady Pats

Lillee Alpe takes a shot for Starkville Academy on Friday night against Heritage Academy. (Photo by Jeanna Edwards)

Sports Correspondent

Lillee Alpe's night may have started by having one of her shots blocked.

That didn't set the sophomore back though as she ended up with 14 points and helped the Starkville Lady Volunteers to a 43-32 victory over Heritage Academy on Friday night.

Alpe said the performance was good individually for her and collectively for the team.

“I thought we played well together," Alpe said. "The offense was kind of spread (out). We played as a team. (The block) didn’t really affect me. I just kept my head up and kept going.”   

Starkville Academy didn’t get off to a very quick start though as it struggled to get points on the board as the Lady Vols trailed 9-8 after a quarter.

Suddenly Starkville Academy woke up and start playing basketball as it out-hustled and out-shot Heritage in the second quarter and took the lead into halftime. The Lady Vols led 28-21 after they started making big offensive plays.

Alpe said it was because of the energy of the fans and it being a district game that sparked their comeback.

“I think the energy of being at home with the student section for us, and a district game means a lot for us going into the tournament," Alpe said. "Just knowing that it was a big game, we knew we had to win.”

In the second half, Starkville Academy had control of the game all the way to the finish, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock the team relished in the final score.  

Alpe was content with the time running off the clock and felt that she deserved such a good performance because she worked hard to get better.  

“My performance the past games hadn’t been what I wanted,” Alpe said. “I think (Friday night) I made up for it with working hard. We had Wednesday off and I think it gave me my legs back from being able to rest.”

Mary Peyton Passons also scored 14 points for the Lady Vols.

Boys Game
Heritage Academy 38,
Starkville Academy 14

The Vols only put up four points in the first half and didn’t score again until 3 minutes left in the third quarter as they fell to the Patriots 38-14.

The reason for such a low score was a result of the defensive pressure that Heritage Academy applied.

Starkville Academy head coach Bruce Allsup said that it really limited what his team could do offensively.

“They put so much pressure in the passing lanes and we let that affect us on our cuts,” Allsup said. “We have a young team and we have to learn to execute against good, defensive teams.”

Allsup said that the Vols also played good defense holding Heritage to just seven points in the first quarter and 38 points for the night.

“I was really pleased with our defensive effort as we held them to just 38 points,” Allsup said. “I’m pretty sure that is a low for them for the year. If we can hold that team to 38 points and if we can get some offensive production, we have a pretty good chance on down the road.”

Despite being beaten by 24 points, Starkville Academy continued to fight until the end, which was something that Allsup was very pleased with.

Allsup was also pleased with the bench players who came in and played hard. One of those being Tanner Graves, who lead the Vols in scoring with six points off the bench.

“Our biggest issue is execution," Allsup said. "We have been fighting all year what combinations to play. I thought those guys who came in there did a good job executing and taking good shots. That was encouraging to see.”

There were some positives that Allsup found in the game moving forward to the next opponent. Allsup said that they always try to find positives and build off of them.

“It has been a tough year in trying to grow the team and become a basketball team," Allsup said. "The kids are keeping a good attitude and are playing really hard.”