Passons nails 3-pointer to lift SA over Heritage

Starkville Academy's Sydney Passons, middle, celebrates with coaches and teammates following Tuesday's 43-2 victory over Heritage Academy. (Photo by Jason Cleveland, SDN)
Sports Editor

Sydney Passons wasn't very happy with herself for missing a free throw that would have helped the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers in the fourth quarter against Heritage Academy Tuesday night.

Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Passons kept playing hard and waited for the next opportunity.

That came in the form of a 3-point field goal that went in with 1:35 left to play that gave Starkville Academy a 43-42 victory over its rival from Columbus.

"I was praying that would go in," Passons said about the winning shot. "We pulled it out at the end."

With the win, the Lady Vols improved to 13-10 overall and 2-2 in Class AAA-District 2.

Passons gave SA the lead with her 3-pointer, but the Lady Vols still had to hold off the determined Lady Patriots in the final minute and a half.

They did just that and SA coach Bruce Allsup was pleased with the defense, especially on the last possession.

"We didn't even give them a shot at the goal so I thought that was big," Allsup said.

Heritage held a 11-6 lead after the first quarter, but the Lady Vols were able to bounce back in the second quarter to go up by as many as five points 23-18 on a basket by Hannah Cuevas.

The Lady Patriots cut the halftime margin to 23-21.

Passons said Allsup was not too happy with them at halftime.

"Coach Allsup came in and kind of chewed us out at halftime," Passons said. "We kicked it in at the end."

Heritage kept playing well and held a 36-33 advantage at the end of the third quarter, but Sydney Passons and her sister Mary Peyton brought Starkville Academy back.

With the Lady Patriots up 42-37, Mary Peyton had a basket and Sydney added a free throw to get the Lady Vols to within 42-40.

Sydney's 3-pointer capped off her 18-point effort and gave SA the needed 43 points for the win.

Allsup gave Heritage credit for giving the Lady Vols a challenge in their own gym.

"Coach (Yandell) Harris had them ready," Allsup said. "They were very well-prepared and gave us some problems. We were finally able to make some adjustments and made some shots to win the ball game.
"My hat goes off to them. They've had a little struggle throughout the year, so to come in here and play us like they did on our floor, you have to give them a lot of credit, but you've also got to give our girls a lot of credit. We didn't play very well and Heritage had a lot to do with that."

Mary Peyton Passons joined her sister in double digits with 11 points for the Lady Vols, while Cuevas added eight points.

Starkville Academy travels to Winston Academy on Friday night.