In a game which meant absolutely nothing, the Lady Knights under new head coach Bart Phillips, took on a tough and senior laden Lady Grangers team from LaGrange High School on Thursday evening.
The Lady Knights hung tough with the Lady Grangers, who advanced to the State Playoffs last season, for almost two quarters. The two teams were tied at 6-6 with just 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. However, the Lady Grangers used their size advantage to dominate the Lady Knights on the boards. After one quarter of play, the Lady Knights trailed 14-6.
“I felt like we had our moments,” said Phillips. “We also had some moments where we did not play well at all. We have to do a better job of rebounding. We can’t give a team two and three shot attempts each possession, especially a team like the one we played tonight. I think playing a team like this in a scrimmage game and opening up with a tough team like Taylor County next week, will make us better later in the season.”
The Lady Knights were able to put pressure on the Lady Grangers’ ball handlers and force some turnovers. Upson-Lee went on a 6-0 run to start the second quarter, and cut the LaGrange lead to 14-12. Unfortunately for the Lady Knights, the Lady Grangers finished the first half on a 25-6 run. Senior guard Brittany Tatum blistered the nets for LaGrange with 34 points.
Trailing 39-18 at the half, the Lady Knights were able to empty their bench throughout the game, giving players some much needed playing time. Seven Lady Knights scored in the contest, led by senior Demeshia Russell’s 10 points.
“We were able to get everyone who needed to play on the court,” said Phillips. “It gave some players a chance to get used to the pace of a varsity game, and it gave myself and the coaching staff a chance to evaluate some players.”
As was the case last season, the Lady Knights’ trips to the free throw line were early and often. However, of the 41 free throw attempts the Lady Knights took, only 18 went through the net, for a 43 percent clip.
“Getting to the line 41 times is pretty impressive,” said Phillips. “It shows that we were being aggressive and taking the ball strong to the basket, but we cannot be successful shooting 43 percent. We have got to make our free throws when we get the opportunity to go to the line, and that’s something we will continue to work on in practice.”
The Lady Knights were outscored 14-8 in the third quarter and 18-10 in the fourth quarter, as LaGrange went on to a 69-36 victory.
Russell led the Lady Knights with 10 points, while Ke’Ondra Ausbrooks added seven points. Senior Brittney Acey scored six points, Tykeela Gray netted four points, while Kenya Harris, Ekorea Gray, and Nysheeme Willis each added three points in the loss.
The Lady Knights will open their season next Friday night, when they take on the Lady Vikings from Taylor County. The Lady Vikings went 26-2 last season, so the Lady Knights will get tested early. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.