By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – New Site learned a valuable lesson Friday night: patience is a virtue … and wins games.
The Lady Royals overcame a stumbling, fumbling first half – 14 turnovers – against tenacious defensive pressure from Baldwyn to defeat the Lady Bearcats 60-43 in a key Division 1-2A game.
“We did a much better job of being patient in the second half,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “We were inconsistent on how we handled their press. We tried to beat it with the dribble instead of reversing the ball and making a pass.
“I knew if we showed some patience we’d be fine.”
New Site led 28-18 at halftime, then broke the game open with an 11-0 run to open the second half.
Baldwyn coach Reneetra Shelley thought her team missed too many opportunities to convert on New Site’s miscues in the first half.
“We didn’t execute on our steals,” she said. “We missed a lot of easy baskets. I thought New Site did a good job defending.”
Morgan Pearson, a senior forward, scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Lady Royals (20-4, 4-0), who have one division game remaining – Tuesday against Okolona.
“We had a lot of nervousness for some reason,” Pearson said of her team’s shaky first half. “I don’t know why. I guess it had to do with Baldwyn. They are quick and athletic.”
New Site also got some needed point production from its younger players. Sophomore forward Shelby Stricklen added 16 points while 6-foot freshman post player Grace Elliott added 12.
“We’ve got some young players who’ve played a lot,” Sparks said. “They’ve made some mistakes because of their youth, but every mistake has made them better.”
Baldwyn (11-8, 3-1) was led by forward Olivia Beene, who scored 16 points despite being in foul trouble. She picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter.
The Lady Royals held Bearcats guard Ayana Ragin to seven points.
“That hurt us when Olivia got her fourth foul,” Shelley said. “They did a good job defending Ayana.”
(B) Baldwyn 82, New Site 37: The Bearcats (21-2, 4-0) broke open a close game with a high-scoring second half.
Duke Upshaw, an eighth grader, led Baldwyn with 30 points. Dee Gates added 15, Tevan Lindsey 12 and Justin Lominick 11 for the winners.
New Site was led by Josh Knight with 12 points.