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SHS girls win turkey tourney

Straughn’s Brittany Driver led the Lady Tigers with 29 points Wednesday, and won most valuable player at the fifth annual tournament. Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s man-to-man defense was too much for Opp on Wednesday, and the Lady Tigers rolled to a 58-38 championship victory in their fifth annual SHS Lady Tigers Thanksgiving Tournament at SHS.

Tournament most valuable player Brittany Driver shot the lights out with a 29-point performance for the Lady Tigers.

With this victory, Straughn captured its second tournament title this season, after winning the Samson Tip-Off earlier this month.

SHS shot out to an early 4-0 lead in the first period, and held the Lady Bobcats to only four points on defense to take a 14-4 lead going into the second period.

Opp bounced back in the second period, outscoring the Lady Tigers 18-12, but trailed 26-22 at the half.

The Lady Tigers then went on to outscore Opp 20-8 in the third period, and 12-8 in the fourth to claim the tournament title.

“I was real pleased with our defense, especially in the second half,” SHS girls basketball coach Scott Kinsaul said. “Opp is a very good basketball team, and they’re going to win a lot of ball games. Coach (Allison) Gregory is a very good coach.

“I’m really pleased with the way we played. I’m very proud of our girls and what they’ve done, and how hard they’ve worked,” he said. “We beat a very good team (Wednesday).”

The Lady Bobcats were led by Nisha Stoudemire, who had 12 points, and Laiken Free chipped in eight.

Jacie Williamson and Audrey Driver each had six points, and Janelle Nurse, Katelyn Kinsaul and Paige Taylor had five points each for Straughn.

Brittany Driver’s quest to 29 points began in the first period, when she got a put back, and followed that with another lay up to help the Lady Tigers take the 4-0 lead early.

Straughn took an 8-2 lead on two Williamson free-throws, and Driver managed a steal to put up two more points to help the Lady Tigers take a 10-2 lead. At this point in the game, Driver totaled eight points.

Trailing 10-2, the Lady Bobcats took a time out with 1:55 left in the first to regroup.

SHS spread out in man-to-man, forced a turnover after two missed free throws and Driver scored her 10th point on another put back off a rebound to take a 12-2 lead.

Free got the scoring going again for Opp when she drained a jumper to help her team go up 12-4.

Kinsaul sealed the first period score on a lay up.

Opp countered in the second period, dishing a quick four points from Stoudemire and Free at the start.

Ali Jessie added a jumper to edge Straughn’s lead to 18-10, and Savannah Gerber added a lay up on transition to make the score 18-12.

Straughn’s Kimmie Jones increased the lead to 23-15 after making a pair of free throws, but Jessie found room on the inside for a lay up and made the front-end of two free throws to keep Opp in the game.

The Lady Bobcats cut into Straughn’s lead by two when Saqquaya Lane drained a jumper for a 23-20 deficit.

Taylor made the back-end of a pair of free shots, and then Kinsaul made a pass to Nurse on the inside to help Straughn take a 26-20 lead with less than 30 seconds left in the first half.

However, Opp made a quick turnaround basket at the buzzer to only trail 26-22 at half time.

Driver kept her scoring clinic running in the third period when she added 11 points to her total.

The Lady Tigers put the game out of reach with 1:05 remaining when Nurse hit a 3-pointer to go up 42-28.

“We were flat,” OHS girls coach Allison Gregory said. “We couldn’t seem to get it going. We hit lay ups. We missed defensive assignments. We didn’t get rebounds.

“Everything that was our game plan — we didn’t do,” she said. “You can’t win ball games like that. You come out that flat against a team like Straughn that doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes — he (Kinsaul) had them ready.”

Kinsaul said the tournament couldn’t have been brought to the school if it wasn’t for the sponsors.

Additionally, he said he learned a lot about the team’s “character.”

“I learned that we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “Their press hurt us in spots in getting to our offenses. There are still a lot of things we can work on to get better. I like this team, and I like the girls and I like their character.”

Straughn Lady Tigers Thanksgiving Tournament All-Tournament Team: Ali Jessie, Laiken Free, Nisha Stoudemire, Opp; Cori Burleson and Erica Daniels, Brantley; Kellie McCaffrey, Houston Academy; and Katelyn Kinsaul, Jacie Williamson, Brittany Driver (MVP) and Paige Taylor, Straughn.