Lady Wildcats get off to slow start in regional loss

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

MOBILE - A slow start hindered the Florala Lady Wildcats in the Class 1A Southwest Regional Basketball Game played at the Mitchell Center on Tuesday.

"I think we were in shock and awe of the place today," Florala Head Coach Pat Maddox said about playing in the Mitchell Center. "In the long run, this will be good for us.

"We had some trouble making our shots today," he added. "We were a little nervous. I know that if they were half as nervous as I was then they were nervous."

The Akron Lady Rams had more-experienced players with seven seniors compared to the Lady Wildcats one.

Playing in a large arena, like the Mitchell Center, was something new for both teams. The Lady Rams (18-6) seemed to adjust better scoring first as they ran out to a 5-0 lead after neither team was able to score during the first minute and a half of the game.

Florala (17-14) finally scored when Latoya Wilson canned two free throws with 4:58 left in the first quarter to cut Akron's lead to 5-2. Wilson was the only Florala player to score in the first period as the Rams enjoyed a 15-8 lead after one period.

The Lady Rams dominated the boards getting two, three and sometimes four chances to score thanks to offensive rebounds.

The rebounds, and poor shooting of the Lady Wildcats, left Akron on top 27-19 at the half.

The third quarter was not any better for the Lady Wildcats.

The Lady Rams went to a half-court pressure defense and limited the Lady Wildcats to just one point in the third quarter. The Akron offense did not suffer in the third scoring 14 points for a 41-20 lead going into the final eight-minute quarter.

In the final period, Maddox made sure he gave everyone on his team a taste of the playoffs. Every player saw action in the game, including five 8th-graders.

Akron was outscored in the fourth quarter by one point (15-14), but the Lady Rams had built up a big enough lead to win by a final score of 55-35.

Senior point guard Tina Fields paced the Lady Rams with 17 points. Forward Andrenio Bryant had a big game early and ended the contest with 16 points. Sondra Terry had 10 points for Akron.

Wilson was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for Florala with 25. Brittney Carson added 3 points. Jessica Bennett, Lori Davis and Jasmine Harrison scored 2 points each for the Lady Wildcats. Senior Nikki Windham scored one point.

Akron Head Coach Patricia Turner said it was a good experience for her players and one she hopes will lead to something like she enjoyed as a member of the 1983 Akron Lady Rams state championship team as a sophomore.

Turner, in her second season as the head coach of the Lady Rams, pointed out the obvious when asked about the win.

"It was a big win. It was a good win for us," she said.