ACKERMAN – The East Webster High School girls' basketball team used a strong second half Tuesday night to slip by Ackerman.
The Lady Wolverines overcame being down at halftime to beat the Lady Indians 62-52.
Ackerman led 33-31 at the intermission, but East Webster head coach Mandy Fondren inspired her team in the locker room to get the victory.
"I just asked what's the first thing it takes to win and they said 'a good attitude,'" Fondren said of what went on in the locker room at half. "We talked about that. We made a few adjustments on our transition defense and we talked about our new defense and we were going to attack the second half defensively and they came out with good attitudes and they came out ready to win."
The game was tied 40-40 midway through the third quarter when the Lady Wolverines went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good. They entered the fourth quarter ahead 51-40.
The Lady Indians tried to keep it close in the fourth quarter. They scored the first points of the final frame on a 3 and got the score to 51-43. East Webster went on a 7-0 run to push the lead back to double digits and keep it there.
"We had I think 12 or 13 turnovers and we did not handle it well," Ackerman head coach Gary Beals said. "A lot of it goes back to me. Where they have played four or five games during the break, we only played one. Not taking anything away from them. They are athletic and quick. They were the better ball club."
East Webster can hang its hat on its defense.
Fondren changed up their scheme a little bit and it forced the Lady Indians to turn the ball over a number of times.
"We usually come out man-to-man full court and of course (Beals) is a great coach and he was ready for that," Fondren said. "I knew he would have all kind of plays and he would beat us down the floor, which he did. So we threw in a new half court trap just to throw him off a little bit maybe surprising him. I think to a certain extent it worked."
The first half featured 12 lead changes and five ties. The Lady Wolverines held a 17-16 first quarter lead, but Fondren believed the changes on defense credited to the slow start.
"We just had to do a lot of different things that we normally don't do," she said. "So that's why I think we started a little rusty, but our defense got better second half and we started rebounding."
East Webster's defense led to easy transitions baskets and Fondren was happy to see that.
"We work on that in practice," Fondren said of transition offense. "We stress that. Transition is what wins most of our ball games here lately. They took away from us a little bit but we got it back and just got the big girls down low that can make those shots under the basket so that helps."
The Lady Wolverines had three players in double digits. Quantesha Patterson led East Webster with 28, while Katesha Dear added 14 and Jada Washington chipped in 12.
"At first, I thought everybody was going to be geared to guard number 11, that's all she's got," Fondren said. "But I have two juniors as guards that have stepped up. Katesha and Jada, and just made a bunch of shots for us. I couldn't ask anything more of them. I am proud of them, great job. It just makes us a better team."
The Lady Wolverines improved their record to 10-7.
The Lady Indians were led by Iasia Lee with 22, Bridgette Robinson with 12 and Kadesia Simmons with 10. They fell to 5-6 for the year.
East Webster 61,
ACKERMAN – The Wolverines were able to hold onto the lead although the Indians did not go away.
Ackerman tied the ball game at 32 midway through the third quarter. East Webster scored the next three points and never let the Indians overtake it again.
Although the Wolverines got the victory, head coach Corey Stidham was hoping his team could slam the door.
"We kept fighting," Stidham said. "But the main thing is we had to many opportunities to put that game out of hand, but we let them back in it. We get a nine-, 10-point lead and we would turn that ball over. Unforced turnovers and take bad shots; things like that. We got to get to where we are in a situation like that we got to be able to put the dagger in them and finish it off."
The Wolverines took a 16-12 lead after the end of the first quarter and lead for all of the second quarter. They entered the locker room up 31-26.
The Indians cut it to three at one point in the final frame, but the Wolverines stretched their lead. East Webster almost let the Indians get back into the ball game in the fourth quarter after poor game management.
"It was very poor management," Stidham said. "I guess we haven't been in that position enough this year. Your leaderships' got to be smart enough, your guards got to be smart enough to pull it out and understand the situation. You're up, they've got to foul; just take care of the basketball. Don't have to force issues."
Like the Lady Wolverines, Stidham's club had four players in double digits and he will be the first to admit that is what he needs from his team.
"That's one thing about this team, we don't have any stars," he said. "We got to blue collar it and get points wherever we can get them. All the way up and down the lineup. We had a couple of guys come in off the bench and gave us some big minutes and big points. We have to have all 13 players to win because we are not going to be more athletic than many teams, we're not going to over power any teams. We have to grind and gut it out on every play and every game."
East Webster was led by Charles Guyton and Vasquez Clark with 13 points a piece. Malik Jones added 12 and Ty Hendrix chipped in 11. With the win, the Wolverines record stands at 5-10. Both boys and girls squads will be back in action Friday night when they travel to Pisgah.
The Indians were led by Matthew Davis with a game high 16 points. Both boys and girls squad will be back in action Thursday when they host Greenville St. Joseph.