Poor first half dooms Lady Knights

W. Curt Vincent Editor

December 3, 2013

DUBLIN — A sloppy, unaggressive first half was the Lady Knights’ undoing on Tuesday in a 45-38 non-conference game against Purnell Swett.

The loss evens West Bladen’s record at 1-1.

Nearly 4 minutes ticked off the clock in the first quarter before either team put the ball in the basket. And over the next 4 minutes, the two teams combined for just seven points — with West Bladen taking a 4-3 lead after a quarter of play. But what the two teams did manage to ring up a lot of were turnovers. The Lady Knights had 10, and Purnell Swett had seven.

The Lady Rams righted their ship in the second quarter, turning the ball over only twice and using an 8-2 run to open the quarter and a 12-2 run to end the half. That sent the visitors into halftime with a 23-13 lead.

“No effort, no defense,” said West Bladen coach Pam Stephens. “This team (Purnell Swett) isn’t better than us, we’re just not playing.”

The lady Knights opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run that went to 8-2 and cut the deficit to 25-21, but the Lady Rams answered with a 9-0 spurt before Taylor Stephens nailed a three-pointer just before the buzzer to pull West Bladen within 39-34.

Purnell Swett opened the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run, but the Lady Knights responded with a 13-2 spurt that featured a three-pointer from Miriam Mendoza and five straight free throws — cutting the deficit to 41-37. But West Bladen could get no closer.

The Lady Rams finished the game with a 4-1 run to seal the win.

“We lost this game in the first half,” Stephens said. “We did the same thing in our first game … started out slow. We’ve got to figure out a way to start quicker.”

West Bladen lost the turnover battle by a 28-19 margin.

Courtney Thompson led the Lady Knights with 16 points and 16 rebounds — she is now just 14 rebounds away from becoming No. 20 in the state for all-time leading rebounders. Thompson also had three blocks.

Taylor Stephens scored nine points for West Bladen.