Starkville's Daija Williams (41) dribbles the basketball up the court against West Point Saturday night. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Lady Yellowjackets didn't have to go searching for a reason to bounce back after a tough loss on Friday night.
Not when West Point comes to town.
After the Lady Jackets were defeated by Canton in Class 5A, Region 2 action 61-35, they turned the situation around and handled the Lady Green Wave 64-50 on Saturday night at home.
"The rivalry with West Point across the board in all of our sports is something we look forward to," SHS girls coach Kristie Williams said. "We looked at this game as another challenge. We knew they were going to come out playing hard. We were able to get them pretty big at their house, but a team always goes home and readjusts its game plan to come play you the next time, so we didn't expect anything less."
West Point scored the first basket of the game, then Imane Montgomery got six-straight points to put the Lady Jackets on top 6-2 with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter.
With two-consecutive baskets, the Lady Green Wave tied the game at 6-6, then Starkville went on a 5-0 run to gain an 11-6 advantage at the 2:55 mark of the first quarter. Kasey Jett had a basket during the run and added a 3-point field goal 40 seconds later for the Lady Jackets to expand the margin to 14-8.
"The energy she was able to bring was a boost helped us realize that it's now time to play ball," Williams said. "To come back and play after a tough game, that's what we needed."
Starkville continued to pull away from West Point and took a 20-10 lead after the first quarter. The gap grew to 39-16 by halftime.
"We started out slow but picked up the pace," Williams said. "I thought we were in a good place by halftime. I was able to clear the bench some, but even still, we've got to maintain our composure and the momentum still has to be our way. We can't have a letdown and keep up the intensity throughout the 30 minutes."
Montgomery led the Lady Jackets with 19 points and she also pulled down nine rebounds. Blair Schaefer scored 18 points and dished out eight assists.
Williams likes what Schaefer is providing the team.
"The leadership she brings when she is on the floor is something that relaxes everyone," Williams said.
Kelsye Reed also scored in double digits for SHS with 10 points. Alexis Gates had 24 points for West Point.
The Lady Jackets, who improved their overall record to 9-6, travel to Columbus on Tuesday.
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