By Gene Phelps
NEW SITE – New Site is not accustomed to losing in girls basketball, so a recent two-game winless streak caused the Lady Royals to “freak out” a little, Cristin Pharr says.
Pharr, a senior forward, scored 20 points Tuesday night to help New Site end a rare two-game skid with a 65-51 victory against Alcorn Central.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us and every year it gets higher and higher,” Pharr said. “We’re going to get through this eventually and figure everything out.”
The Lady Royals, a frequent visitor to the Big House, won a state title in 2012 and lost in the finals last season.
New Site (6-2), coming off back-to-back losses to Red Bay, Ala., and Huntsville (Ala.) Lee, actually trailed Alcorn Central (4-2) by three points at halftime.
“We’ve struggled the last couple of games,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “The kids have lost some confidence. We’re in a slump and we’re trying to play through it.”
Sparks watched his Lady Royals rally in the third quarter to outscore the Lady Bears 17-4 and take a 44-34 lead. Pharr scored nine of her points in the period.
Lady Bears coach Charlotte Foster credited her team’s sluggish play at times to a 14-day layoff.
“They don’t let us play during state testing,” she said. “That’s hard on the kids. We had been playing pretty well.”
Alcorn Central also played most of the third quarter without three starters – Alexis Harmon (toe injury), who finished with a team-high 18 points, Courtny Ekiss (dizzy spell) and the team’s top scorer, sophomore Lauren McCreless (foul trouble), who finished with 15 points.
“What really hurt was New Site going on a 10-0 run to start the third quarter,” Foster said.
Despite its problems, Alcorn Central cut the Lady Royals’ lead to 46-40 at the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter.
New Site responded with three 3-pointers, two from Shelby Stricklen and one from Faith Mitchell, to eventually push its lead to 13 points.
(B) New Site 63, Alcorn Central 54: Four players scored in double figures to lead the Royals – Josh Knight 14, Ashton Johnson 13, Brett Morgan 11 and Kyle Gray 10.