A defensive battle

Published 12:02 am Thursday, November 28, 2013

Straughn's Katelyn Kinsaul drives down the court Wednesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s Katelyn Kinsaul drives down the court Wednesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn knew it had to play a good game on defense Wednesday to be able to have a chance against defending Class 1A state champion Brantley.

The Lady Tigers did just that in a 29-28 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.

“It’s how you win ball games,” SHS coach Scott Kinsaul said about the defense. “If you hold a team like that to 28 points (then that’s a good thing.) I’m real pleased with our defense.”

Trailing 29-27, Brantley could’ve tied the game up on two free throws with no time left in regulation after a late foul, but only hit the back-end of the pair.

SHS trailed early in the first period, but came back to take a 11-9 lead going into the second period. In the second, the lady Tigers held BHS to four points to lead 18-11 at the break.

Both teams’ defense shined from the start of the second half as not one point was scored until the 5:06 mark of the third period.

The Lady Tigers led 22-18 at the end of the third period.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Jacie Williamson got the ball rolling in the fourth with a nice pull-up jumper with 6:07 to go.

Brantley answered with a 3-pointer from Raven Davis to cut the lead back to three at 24-21.

Williamson later added two free throws at the 4:51 mark to give her team a 5-point advantage.

After getting the ball back, SHS ate some clock, but a turnover later gave BHS a shot at cutting the lead again.

The Lady Bulldogs drained another trey and quickly called a timeout with 3:08 left in the fourth.

Williamson, who led SHS with 15 points, put her team ahead by five after executing a nice turn-around jumper while getting an and-1 with 1:06 left.

Brantley’s Amanhi Upshaw later dished in a free throw and then a jumper to put the game at 29-27 with 13.9 seconds left.

“They played real well,” Kinsaul said. “That’s a good team. They’ve got some great athletes. We’re fortunate. This is our sixth game against their third, so I think that had a lot to do with it.

“I’m real pleased with my team and looking forward to Thanksgiving,” he said.

Straughn’s Harley Adcock — who chipped in nine points — drained two 3-pointers back to back in the first period to give the Lady Tigers a 9-7 lead. Shortly afterward, Katelyn Kinsaul got a steal and passed it to Derriunna Gantt, who got the bucket for a 11-7 lead.

Williamson increased Straughn’s lead to 18-11 with 2.9 seconds left in the first half on an inbound pass.

Later in the third period, Paige Taylor found an open Brentley Armstrong for an easy bucket to put their lead at 22-14.

Upshaw scored Brantley’s final four points of the third period.

Upshaw led BHS with 11 points. Payton Burnett had seven points.

Straughn Lady Tigers All-Tournament Team: Jacie Williamson, Katelyn Kinsaul, Paige Taylor and Emily Wood, all of Straughn; Raven Davis, Amahni Upshaw, Peyton Hill and Payton Burnett, all of Brantley; Caitlyn Boley and Savanna Simera, all of Houston Academy; and Nadaja Debose of Luverne.