Lady Knights showing improvement without results

Wes McCard Sports Editor

December 17, 2013

The Upson-Lee Lady Knights are having an almost identical season from their season a year ago. They are scoring just about the same amount of points per game, giving up about the same amount of points per game, and have a nearly identical record (1-8, 1-4) through nine games.

The biggest difference so far this season is the way the Lady Knights are playing in their losses. Last season it seemed nearly impossible for the Lady Knights to come from behind once trailing by a substantial amount of points. The Lady Knights are averaging about a point more a game and giving up about four points more a game than last season. This season however, they have played well for two or three quarters, and it has usually been just one quarter or less which has led to their 1-8 record.

“So far our record looks a lot like it did at this point last season,” said Lady Knights head coach Bart Phillips. “However, I think we are competing much better than we did a year ago. For instance, we hung in their with Dutchtown, Taylor County, and Stockbridge for three quarters, it was just a small stretch during the game in which we struggled. I think we are not in as good of shape as we can be, and that’s my fault. We get tired for a period of time in the game, and that’s when teams jump on us. We got sloppy when we get tired, and over the break we are really going to concentrate on getting into better shape for region play. Those are the games that matter to us.”

In the Lady Knights loss to Dutchtown on Friday night, it was the last five minutes of the second quarter which led to their 19 point loss. With 5:35 left in the second quarter, the Lady Knights (1-8) were leading Dutchtown (6-1) by an 11-10 score. However just five minutes later Upson-Lee trailed Dutchtown 32-14 at halftime.

“Again, It was about a four or five minute span which cost us,”said Phillips. “We outscored them 40-39 in the first, third, and fourth quarters combined, but they just dominated us in the second quarter. We got to the free throw line a ton, shooting 49 free throws. When you shoot that many free throws you should at the very minimum make 30, we made 17 free throws. If we make 30, it’s a six points ball game rather than a 19 point ball game.”

Upson-Lee Kiashona Carter led the Lady Knights with 19 points, with 15 of those points coming in the second half of the game. The Lady Knights outscored Dutchtown 21-16 in the fourth quarter, but the damage in the second quarter had been done, as Dutchtown defeated Upson-Lee 67-48.

Dutchtown made 21 of their 38 free throws for a 65 percent clip, while Upson-Lee made 17 of their 49 free throws for a 36 percent clip. This has been something in whcih the Lady Knights struggled with earlier in the season. They had improved their free throw shooting over the last few ball game, but had a major set back in their loss on Friday night.

Carter paced UL with 19 points, while collecting six steals in the game. Keondra Ausbrooks scored 11 points and added seven rebounds. LaQuasha Hutcherson tallied seven points, Alexus Holston scored six points, Kia Willis and Keerra McMillion each finished with two points, while Jaleesa Gibson chipped in with one point in the defeat.

The Lady Knights will hit the road tonight to face the Lady Patriots from Greenville High School. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m.