Strong ‘d’ lifts SHS

Published 12:02 am Friday, December 14, 2012

Straughn’s Paige Taylor (12) tries for the ball during action last night against Enterprise. The Lady Tigers won 58-31. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn put together a good defensive effort against a physical Enterprise team, and the Lady Tigers rolled to a 58-31 regular-season victory over the Lady Wildcats on Thursday night.

Leading throughout the contest, the Lady Wildcats had no answer to Straughn’s man-to-man defense.

EHS (5-5) got some good looks around the basket, but couldn’t convert as the Lady Tigers were close by and ready to get critical rebounds.

In the first 16 minutes, both teams exchanged fouls to slow the pace of the game down quite a bit. In fact, the scorekeeper had the game at approximately 25 total fouls when it was all said and done.

“It was a very physical game on both sides,” SHS coach Scott Kinsaul said. “We needed that. I didn’t mind us being pushed around. We need some of that to see how we react.”

Kinsaul said he thought his girls played well against the Lady Wildcats’ up-tempo style of play.

“We kept our composure, ran our offense and made shots and rebounded,” he said. “I’m just real pleased with the win.”

The first period was a defensive slugfest.

The first two points were scored with 5:50 on the clock on Lady Tigers leading-scorer Brittany Driver’s steal and layup. Driver, a senior, finished the night with 24 points, approximately four blocks and had a good night in rebounds, catching in the double-figure range.

Enterprise answered about four minutes later with a drive up the lane.

Driver and Jacie Williamson got 1-and-1s later on, and Katelyn Kinsaul dropped a jumper at the buzzer to give the Lady Tigers a 9-8 advantage after the first period.

That was the closest Enterprise would get to Straughn’s lead for the rest of the game.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Straughn senior Mariah Bonham drained three 3-pointers and could’ve made another later in the second half to finish the night in double figures.

Bonham’s nine points off the bench sparked the Lady Tigers, Kinsaul said.

“I thought she did a great job coming off the bench,” he said. “She got an open shot, took it and made them, which is what a senior is supposed to do.”

Bonham said she got her shots because she was open.

“That’s what I did,” she said. “I was playing my game, stepping up and being a senior — showing what I had.”

With less than a minute, Bonham drained her final trey of the night and got fouled in the process.

The senior said her last 3-pointer felt like she won a big game for her team.

“It felt like I made the winning shot for the championship game,” Bonham said.

Straughn led 29-15 at halftime. Eight of their points in the first half came from the free-throw line, there the Lady Tigers finished 21-of-44 for the game.

The Lady Tigers held a dizzying double-figure lead during the third period, and led 41-28 going into the final eight minutes.

Enterprise scored its last three points with approximately 6:30 left in the game, and Straughn went on a 17-0 run to finish out the romp.

Kinsaul said “defense” is a top priority at every practice.

“We really try to concentrate on our defense,” he said. “We don’t have to score too many points if they don’t score many points.”

When asked how he thought his girls handled Enterprise’s speed and athleticism, the Lady Tigers’ coach said they matched up with them well.

“Athetlically, we were getting in position on defense,” Kinsaul said. “We kept them in front of us. We rebounded well.”

Straughn’s Emily Wood, who drained her final four free throws, finished the night with four points.

Katelyn Kinsaul chipped in eight points to pace SHS (9-1), and Jacie Williamson had five points.

In ninth-grade action, the Lady Tigers defeated EHS 37-30.

Harley Adcock led SHS with 13 points. Kristen Peavy had seven points.

SHS travels to face Excel in its first area contest tonight.