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The East Rankin Lady Patriots came to Starkville Academy on Tuesday, hoping to escape with an upset over one of the best teams in the state.
However, for coach Glenn Schmidt and the Lady Volunteers, it was business as usual and they defeated East Rankin 68-34 to remain unbeaten.
Starkville Academy held the Lady Patriots to just two points in the third quarter, which proved to be a huge factor in the win.
â€śItâ€™s always good to play strong coming out of the half,â€ť Schmidt said. â€śWe were able to do that and jump on them defensively, and that helped to put the game away for us.â€ť
The Lady Vols jumped out to an early 8-0 lead in the first quarter, before Katelyn Keeton provided the Lady Patriots with their first basket at the 5:18 mark. SA then went on a 14-4 run, which included 10 points from Tiffany Huddleston, to lead East Rankin 22-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Although the hot-shooting performance continued for the Lady Vols, East Rankin began to chip away at the lead, closing the gap to 26-14 midway through the second quarter. However, Starkville Academy broke away on a 9-4 run in the final 2 minutes of the half, which resulted in a 41-24 lead at halftime.
â€śIt took us a little while to adjust,â€ť Schmidt said. â€śEast Rankin had a very good game-plan and put the pressure on us, then we began to respond and we were able to hang in there.â€ť
The third quarter was not kind to the Lady Patriots, as the Lady Vol defense held East Rankin to just two points in the entire quarter. Meanwhile, Sallie Kate Richardson and Anna Lea Little were busy picking the defense apart, propelling SA to a controlling 62-26 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Little led the Lady Vols with a double-double by scoring 13 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Also reaching double digits was Maggie Proffitt, who led all scorers with 17 points. Richardson and Huddleston also chipped in with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Karlie Coghlan led East Rankin with 10 points.
The Lady Vols play Parklane Academy next on the road.
"Weâ€™re going to focus on our game-plan and how we want to play it,â€ť Schmidt said on preparing for Parklane. â€śMany times we focus on the opposing team, because they do things to us that we need to work on. At this point of the season, though, weâ€™re trying to polish our game, and that should prepare us for both games this weekend.â€ť
Starkville Academy improved to 27-0 this season, while East Rankin falls to 18-10.
East Rankin 41,
Starkville Academy 37
Despite the offensive performance of Brandon Sharp and Carnail Minor, the Vols werenâ€™t able to slow down East Rankin.
The Vols fell to 13-11 this season, while East Rankin improved to 13-12.
Additional details on the game were not available at press time.