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Fourth-quarter sting

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Breya Passmore pulls down the rebound.Breya Passmore pulls down the rebound.By Brian Besch

The Goodrich-Leggett rivalry was as tough as ever for three quarters Friday night, but the Lady Hornets finished the game in a big way to take a 64-37 home victory.

Goodrich held just a four-point difference at halftime, but doubled that by the end of the third quarter at 36-28. The last few minutes of the third would foreshadow what was to come. The lady Hornets erupted for 28 points in that last quarter, while holding Leggett to nine.

“At the beginning, we just wanted to play wild ball,” Goodrich coac Pinellafie Johnson said. “They wanted to play their game and I kept telling them that we aren’t going to do that. We’ve got girls that are wide open and all we have to do is pass the ball around and lay it off the glass. In the second half, that is what they did, because the first half was horrible. They were just rushing. We only passed the ball inside in the first half two times, because everything was just running down the court and putting it up. I told them that we have to play team ball to win this game.”

The Lady Hornet inside game made a large difference, as Latrina Morgan and Breya Passmore were able to find enough room in the paint versus the Leggett zone. Each collected 22 points to lead the team. Aralyn Angel added eight points for the home team and Arly Balbuena had six.

For Leggett, the outside shot kept the game close until the final eight minutes. Makelah Reeves-Nesmith had 11, Tamaera Henderson had 10 and Kylie Valderez nine. All but 10 of the Lady Pirate points came by way of the 3-pointer.

“We are standing around on offense at the 3-point line,” Leggett coach Terri Barlow said. “I only had one in trying to get a rebound. Everybody wants to sit outside. We especially didn’t take care of the ball like we should have. We played a totally different game from what we did Tuesday night. We just plain and simple got outhustled. We were down by four at halftime and lost by almost 30 points. We didn’t hustle and we kept throwing the ball away.”

On Tuesday, Leggett played Burkeville and took home a victory. The are now 1-4 in league play.

Goodrich improves to 2-2 in district, with Zavala and Chireno occupying first and second in 28-1A, respectively. Johnson feels as though her team is improving and that the second half of district will be “a different ballgame.”

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acolby Sells goes for two of his 49 points Friday.acolby Sells goes for two of his 49 points Friday.By Brian Besch

 The game was never really in doubt and the biggest cheer from the visiting Pirate section Friday was when their team hit the 100-point mark. Led by 49 points from Jacolby Sells, Leggett walloped the Hornets 106-27, improving to 2-1 in District 28-1A.

After a 19-5 first quarter, the Pirates rolled off totals of 31, 26 and 30 in the three remaining stanzas to reach triple digits.

“We came out and played better team ball today,” Leggett coach Ra’Shod Jefferson said. “I was able to have everybody back. In the first district game, I didn’t have everybody back and in the second district game, we were missing some players. It was due to the holidays and

some being sick. We got out and played good defense, but started slacking up a bit in the late third. if we keep working as a team, we will get better day by day.”

The first-year Leggett coach said the win could boost his squad as high as second in the district, depending on other league games Friday.

“We are playing hard and playing together and playing tough. We are physical and getting in and rebounding. At first, we were watching like we were at the AMC theater, but now they are getting in and rebounding the ball more on offense and defense.”

Prior to Friday, the Pirates lost in Zavala and defeated Burkeville by two Tuesday night.

Goodrich found ball handling difficult versus a tenacious press and rushed the offense when they could advance beyond half court. Most of the Leggett points were off turnovers.

“We are terrible and don’t seem to mind losing,” Goodrich coach Lester King said. “We are not doing anything about it. You would think that kids would stay after practice and shoot a little bit or work on dribbling, but there is  othing extra. They are satisfied with losing. I hate to lose; I don’t care what it is. Even if it is a game of marbles, I hate to lose. They don’t have that in them. I haven’t had a boy this year stay in and do anything (after practice) – I have had a couple of girls, but no boys.”

The team did play inspired ball over the final eight minutes, turning in 14 points for the quarter.

Sells was able to spread his points over four quarters. His 10 points in the second period was the lowest and 14 in the fourth was the peak.

 Adding to the total for Leggett was Jesse Calderas with 21, Joshua Perkins with 18 and Andres Diosdado with 10. For the Hornets, A’mareion Bookman had a 20-point night. He scored 11 of those in the fourth.

A trip to Chireno is up next for the Hornets Tuesday, while the Pirates return home for a match with Chester.

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Slaying the Dragons

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slayingthedragonsBriana Miles goes in for the layup. Photo by Brian BeschBy Brian Besch
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Nacogdoches found scoring difficult, as the Big Sandy girls cruised to a 41-12 triumph in Monday’s matinee tip.

The Lady Cats have spent the non-district portion of the schedule facing large, athletic teams that are often in larger classifications. Monday was no different, but Nacogdoches had trouble against the team ball Big Sandy played.

“I was proud of our defense today; we stepped up big,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said. We gave up six in the first half and gave up six in the second half. If you take a look at the team we are playing — very athletic, very long — and if we can give up 12 points in a game to them, that’s good for us.”

The Lady Dragons had just six points going into the fourth quarter and life on the offensive end was made difficult by the stingy Lady Cats.

Nacogdoches also played well on defense by obtaining several steals, keeping the score closer than it could have been.

“Offensively, we hit some spots at times, but we could never just get on a run,” Alec said. “I think it is one of those gradual things where we took the lead, but we didn’t shoot the ball great. We had some others step in and knock down some big shots for us when they needed to. We were just finding someone to help us get going. It took a little bit for us to get rolling.” 

The coach said that if different parts will get hot shooting the ball, the team can maintain control in games when they play excellent defense.

“We do a good job of feeding off each other and I thought the second quarter did that for us with some shooting and scoring. Also in the second quarter, we had some hustle points with people getting some steals and that kind of helped separate the scoring a little bit.”

Kaleh Corynn led the ‘Cats with 14 points, Savanna Poncho and Briana Miles each had eight, Kalyssa Dickens scored six and Alexis Thompson added five.

Alec still wants to work on team communication on the floor before league play arrives.

“The way we play defense is a little bit different than the way we have in the past. It involves a lot more communicating between our players. It is something we still have to improve on as we work through the season.”

The next home game for the Lady Cats will be Jan. 4 versus Evadale.

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Wildcat defense stops Shepherd

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Seth Beene-Williams flies in to block a shot.Seth Beene-Williams flies in to block a shot.

By Brian Besch
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Both Big Sandy and Shepherd had problems getting their offense started Monday in Dallardsville, but the Wildcats were able to pull away late in the game for a 58-35 victory.

Not only were shots not falling, but the Pirates and ‘Cats played excellent defense early on, playing to a 5-3 first-quarter score, as well as an 18-13 Big Sandy advantage at the half.

“I thought we came out and played well at the beginning. As the game progressed, it was just the little things,” Shepherd coach Jeremy Bennett said. “We haven’t had all of our players together all year long and we’re young, so those little things start catching up with us later on. There were too many mental mistakes there at the end.

The Shepherd coach said he hopes to improve on the offensive side once players are comfortable with each other and his system. 

Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said his team has been streaky so far in the 2021-22 season.

“In all honesty, that has kind of been our deal all year,” Foster said. “We’ve had quarters this year where we will score two and then turn around in the next quarter and scored 22. You feel like really getting mad at the kids in the first half, but the thing is, we are getting good shots, we were just missing everything. It didn’t matter what we got really, we just weren’t putting the ball in the basket. It wasn’t our best game by any stretch of the imagination.” 

Where the offense lacked early on Monday, the defense more than made up, keeping Shepherd scoring at a minimum. Foster said his team looked different Friday, playing their best game of the season in a win over talented Grapeland by 25. 

“Our identity is we are generally really good defensively and rebound the ball, but some nights our offense is there and some nights it is not,” Foster said. “That is when defense and rebounding have to keep you in games. I think we have a good team, but we are not an explosive team. I tried to tell people that a 20-point win for us is like somebody else beating you by 35 or 40, just because of the style of play.”

The Wildcats picked up the pace in each period, with 5, 13, 15 and 25 scored by quarter. The Pirates also scored in double digits in each after the first quarter. 

“The defense looked really good when we were tuned in and doing what exactly what we were supposed to do,” Bennett said. “We started getting — for whatever reason — a little out of place. That is when they start making a run and increased the lead on us. Passing has been off all season long. We just throw the ball away and make too many dumb mistakes.” 

Kaden Foster led the Wildcats with 15 points, while Seth Beene-Williams had 11 points, Jorden Martinez had nine, Javen Criswell eight and Elias Bullock seven. Shepherd was topped by Jessie Valerie with nine, Tristen Cullum eight, Lucas Moore with seven and Tre Patterson with six.

The next home game for Shepherd will be in the new year, on Jan. 7 versus a tough Hardin-Jefferson squad. Big Sandy will play at home Jan. 4, a district game with Evadale.

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