ACKERMAN – There was no such thing as a lazy Saturday for a few of the area’s basketball teams.
Taking part in the Mid-Mississippi Challenge were the Eupora Lady Eagles, the Starkville Lady Yellowjackets, as well as the East Webster Lady Wolverines and host team the Ackerman Lady Indians.
The first game between Ackerman and J.Z. George saw the Lady Indians pick up a decisive 42-19 victory.
“They did well since we played at 9 o’clock in an early round game,” Ackerman coach Gary Beals said. “The last two games we’ve played really well. We beat Hamilton Thursday. Then coming back (Saturday) we are just trying to get some momentum heading into the division tournament.”
Ackerman took control of the game from the very beginning as it outscored the Lady Jaguars 18-7 during the first.
Entering halftime, the Lady Indians held a 10-point lead with the score standing 24-14.
Defense took control following halftime as Ackerman held J.Z. George scoreless to take a 34-14 lead into the final period.
J.Z. George was able to score in the fourth, but they were not able to overcome the 20-point deficit set by Ackerman. In the end the Lady Indians left the court with a 23 point victory.
Bridgett Robinson led the way for Ackerman with 20, while Martisha Brewer was the leading Lady Jaguar with 15.
Beals knows that not only does a tournament like the Mid-Mississippi Challenge give his team a chance to improve, but the boost it provides the town is something he is proud of.
“It helps the community," Beals said. "In one day, we bring 18 teams to the town. It really does a lot and it is one of our big things here."
Ackerman will stay at home for their next contest as they welcome Weir to town on Tuesday.
Led by Blair Schaefer, the Lady Jackets picked up their second win of the weekend.
“When you play back-to-back games you expect the fatigue and the tiredness in the legs, some shots they normally make are left short so it's good to get another victory,” SHS coach Kristie Williams said.
Especially when you play back-to-back games, you don’t want to wear your players down too fast. Me as the head coach, I was looking at that.
“We played a hard-fought game (Friday) night and to turn around in the next 12 hours we are playing another game, I thought we did a good job only being down by five at halftime and I knew we could pick up that pace and get into the intensity we like to play with.”
Like Williams stated the Lady Jackets entered halftime trailing 20-15, but the team used its break to focus on turning the game in their favor.
“We went in at halftime down by five and we knew we needed to get the momentum back on our side because everything was swinging their way so once we did start pressing we started to get steals and easy lay-ups,” Williams said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and we knew that if we could take their primary scorer away and force somebody else to step and take the shot we would have a chance to battle back.”
Following halftime, the Lady Jackets came fighting back as they outscored their opponent 38-17.
Schaefer led the way for the Lady Jackets with 23 points followed by Imane Montgomery who scored 15.
Paving the way for the SHS defense was Kelsye Reed whose hustle left quite the impression on her coach.
“Kelsye is a senior and she wants this," Reed said. "She wants us to keep going passed the regular season and she knows a game like this will only help us out. She stood up and she held her own (Saturday).”
SHS takes to the road for its next contest. On Tuesday, the Lady Jackets will travel to Philadelphia to face district foe Neshoba Central.
From the moment the ball was tipped Stringer took the lead as it posted 17 points to the 11 scored by Eupora during the first period.
“We came in knowing stringer was a pretty good school,” Lady Eagles coach Bryant Thomas said. “We ended district (Friday) with a loss and I think our girls were still dragging early in the game. After halftime, adjustments they came back out and made it a six-point game at one point, but we just waited too late to get started offensively and defensively.”
With 23 points, Jaliyaah Patterson was the leading Eupora scorer.
Kosciusko is next on the agenda for the Lady Eagles as they arrive in Eupora on Jan. 29.
East Webster 43,
Picking up a solid win was nice for East Webster coach Mandy Jewell, but what impressed the coach even more was the way her team played as a whole instead of relying on one player.
“We’ve been working on not relying on Quantesha (Patterson) so much and making it a team effort,” Jewell said. “Thirty-two (Tamesha Horn) for them was a good player and we just tried to shut her down and they did a good job of doing that.”
Even with the Lady Wolverines not relying on Patterson as much, the junior still led the team on offense with 20 points.
Following the game Jewell was impressed with the way her team played and what a win like this can do for their program as the season progresses.
“It gets their spirits up, because we’ve either beaten teams by 20 or we’ve gotten beat by 20 so a good solid win is going to help moving forward and I think we’ll have some good feedback from (Saturday),” Jewell said.
Up next the Lady Wolverines welcome Pisgah to town for a Tuesday game.