By JAMES CARSKADON
For the Daily News
Washington School beat Glenn Schmidt’s Lady Volunteers 55-50 earlier in the season, but it was a very different result in Friday night’s rematch. Starkville Academy stifled the Lady Generals defensively en route to a 53-16 victory.
“I’m really impressed with the way the girls responded to having been beat over there,” Schmidt said.
The win improved the Lady Vols’ record to 13-10 overall and 4-4 in the conference going into a crucial conference game against Pillow today.
Washington appeared to match up well with Starkville in the first quarter as they only trailed 14-8 after 8 minutes of play, but from there it was all Starkville Academy. The Lady Vols only allowed two field goals combined in the second and third quarters, and those came 14 minutes apart.
While the defense was keeping Washington from accomplishing anything on their end of the court, Sallie Kate Richardson was making an impact on both ends of the floor. The freshman forward finished the game with 14 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
“Sally Kate is playing inside, which is not a glamorous position, but she is starting to block shots, makes baskets and play good defense,” Schmidt said.
The Lady Vols cruised through the second half, which allowed everybody a chance to play as they went on to win.
Richardson was one of four Volunteers to reach double-digits in scoring. Julianne Jackson finished with 11 points, while Lea Anna Little and Anna Prestridge finished with 10 points apiece.
Freshman Nora Kathryn Carroll scored seven points before leaving the game with a knee injury in the second quarter. Her status for today’s game is unknown at this point.
“They did what they had to do to make sure they didn’t come back in the second half,” Schmidt said. “Great chance for everybody to play. It was good to play everybody knowing we've got another conference game (today) at Pillow.”
Schmidt was well aware of the importance of today’s matchup with Pillow. She called it one of the biggest games of the year for her young team.
“When you play Pillow at Pillow, you have to be ready to strap it on," Schmidt said. "We want to go over there and dish it out.”
Washington School 46,
Starkville Academy 42
Playing without head coach Chris Lyle, who was in Florida due to a sickness in the family, the Starkville Academy Volunteers lost a heart-breaking contest to Washington.
After battling back to tie the game at 39-39 with 2:28 to play, Washington’s Chase Palasini hit back-to-back three pointers that sealed the game for the Generals. Assistant coach Kyle Morgan, who was filling in for Lyle, called those shots a “dagger.”
“Just a dagger," Morgan said. "We did a great job of 90-95 percent of the game, and then you fall asleep and they kill you."
The Volunteers held a 23-20 lead at the end of the first half, but Washington pulled ahead in the third quarter and held a 35-30 lead going into the final period.
Buckets from J.R. Gerhart, Adam Crittenden and Jon Michael Robinson brought the Vols back to even with the Generals at 39-all, but from there Palasini took over and two turnovers on offense doomed the Volunteers.
“We probably ran the best half-court offense of the year,” Morgan said. “We didn’t turn the ball over until the fourth quarter.”
Junior Austin Kinard led the Vols with 13 points, Jordan Graham had 10 points and J.R. Gerhart had nine points. Josh Bowers and Palasini paced the Generals with 13 points each.
For Morgan, it was his first game ever to be the head coach of a varsity team. He has been an assistant at Starkville Academy for nine years. Morgan urged people to keep Lyle and his family in their thoughts and prayers as his father is seriously ill.
Morgan will coach the Volunteers again today at Pillow Academy.