New Site's Lady Royals hit road, avenge their only loss

By Blake Long/Special to the Journal

IUKA – Tishomingo County ended New Site’s 51-game home winning streak on Nov.19 in the New Site Tournament championship game.
Just under a month later, New Site returned the favor on the Lady Braves’ home court Tuesday with a 68-65 overtime victory in a matchup of one-loss teams.
“The first time we played them we weren’t ready for whatever reason,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “They came in and just really whipped our tail and I was glad we were able to come back.”
Trailing the entire first half, New Site (10-1) took their first lead on an AnnaMae Barber layup with 5:37 to play in the third quarter and led 38-34 heading to the fourth.
Though the Lady Royals built their lead to as many as 11 after Shelby Stricklen’s basket, Tishomingo County (9-2) would respond with under a minute to play.
Danielle Blakney’s three-pointer cut the New Site lead to two before an off-the-ball foul allowed Anna Claire Griffin to sink two free throws and tie the game at 52-52 with 38 seconds left.
Shimei Carter would steal the in-bounds pass and Deidra McCoy (21 points) would give the Lady Braves the lead on a pair of free throws after being fouled by Morgan Pearson.
Pearson made up for the foul after Stricklen’s jump shot sent the game to the extra session, making 8-of-10 free throws in overtime to seal the victory.
“She was working hard on the boards,” Sparks said of Pearson, who had a game-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds. “She got to the free throw line and that makes her pretty good when she can do that.”
While both teams are usually known for their clean play, it was quite the opposite this night with a combined 92 turnovers – New Site had 49 and Tishomingo County recorded 43.
“That’s the most turnovers we’ve had,” Lady Braves coach Lauren Ford Whitson said. “We just didn’t execute well at all.”
(B) Tishomingo County 62, New Site 38: Joey Shannon scored 21 points to lead the Braves (4-6). Ethan Brown was the only double-digit scorer for New Site (4-7) with 15.