Straughn girls tumble

Published 12:02 am Friday, January 25, 2013

Straughn’s Mariah Bonham (24) and Taylor Wood (22) react after their team’s 60-51 loss to Providence Christian School Thursday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s girls experienced an unfamiliar feeling Thursday — a loss.

The ninth-ranked Lady Tigers’ 22-game win streak was snapped by Class 2A No. 7 Providence Christian in a 60-51 defeat at SHS.

From the start, SHS trailed early and throughout the contest.

PCS built a 19-point lead twice in the second period and SHS coach Scott Kinsaul said the hole was too deep to be able to climb out.

“They’re a very good basketball team,” Kinsaul said about PCS. “They’ll be in Birmingham (in the state finals), I’m sure. We were down 19, but we didn’t quit. I was proud of them for that.”

Much of the 19-point lead for the Lady Eagles came from stout offensive performances from guards Mary Palm and Elizabeth Dowd. Both scored in double figures in the first half.

Mary drove the lane on several occasions and grabbed several offensive rebounds to outgun Straughn’s defensive front. Dowd backed her up on her way to a double-double (19 points and 13 rebounds) kind of night.

“We haven’t seen a guard that good in a long time,” Kinsaul said about Palm. “We didn’t adjust to her very well like we should have.”

After the Lady Eagles built an 8-0 lead in the first period, Straughn got on the board on a Brittany Driver drive from the base line.

The Lady Tigers cut the game to three points — the closest it would ever get — on their next possession as Jacie Williamson drained a 3-pointer with 4:21 left in the first.

Driver made a jump shot later and floated another in off of an Emily Wood pass to cut PCS’ lead to 18-10 at the end of the first period.

Getting dug deep in the hole, Straughn saw some life late in the second period, thanks to Mariah Bonham, who shot two 3-pointers back to back, coming off the bench.

The Lady Eagles led 35-20 at the break.

Straughn started out the second half on a 6-0 run, where Katelyn Kinsaul drove the lane and Driver got two jumpers to cut the game to 40-26 with 4:32 left in the third period.

Already with three fouls, Driver kept her composure well when times got rough as she was seen encouraging her teammates.

Driver got a put back to cut the game to 42-28. Williamson later answered with a put back and the Lady Tigers put the game at 44-30 at the end of the third period.

Things started going the Lady Tigers’ way in the fourth period and SHS took advantage by cutting the lead to 46-38 with 4:58 left on a Driver drive and layup. Before, Katelyn and Paige Taylor made free throws to help in the effort.

Like any experienced and quick-paced team, PCS never gave in and kept driving on its way to a 50-38 lead with more than 3-and-a-half minutes to play.

The last two minutes went back and forth from single-digit to double-digit differences between both teams.

Pa got a steal and a layup with seconds remaining and Williamson answered on a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Straughn to make it as respectable as possible.

“We didn’t play very well and they had a lot to do with that,” Kinsaul said. “They whipped us. They plain beat us. We haven’t felt this in 22 ball games. We’ve got to learn from it and get better out of it.”

With this loss, the Lady Tigers fall to 22-2 overall.

Driver led SHS with 18 points. Williamson added 12 points, Bonham had six points and Katelyn had four.

Palm led PCS with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight steals. Gage Weeks had 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Brooke Segler had nine points.

Kinsaul said in the end it was good to play such a good team as PCS.

“We needed a (challenge),” he said. “We needed to see teams who are better and are that good. That’s why she (PCS coach) wanted to play us. Even though we lost, it was a whole lot better than us practicing (Thursday).”

Straughn’s back in action today as it hosts Excel.