The Lady Royals, ranked No. 2 in the Daily Journal’s Northeast Mississippi Top 10, anticipated a much tougher test from 15-win Hamilton. Instead, the defending state champions rolled to a 76-36 victory Tuesday in Division 1-2A action.
Hamilton coach Sue Verner expected a lot better showing from her Lady Lions, too.
“This was a division game, one that counted,” she said. “I thought we’d give a better effort than that.
“We played some good teams, but none as all-around as New Site.”
New Site (16-4, 2-0) used solid ball movement on offense and a zone press defense – one that forced 17 first-half turnovers – to build a commanding 39-10 halftime lead against Hamilton (15-3, 1-1)
“I’ve got some big kids we can put on top,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “We can give teams problems (with the press).
“Offensively, we’ve been working a lot in practice on swinging the ball from side to side. We want to work to get the ball inside.”
Christin Pharr, a 5-foot-9 forward, scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the first half to pace New Site.
“Pharr works hard and has a nose for rebounds,” Sparks said. “She’s very physical in the post.”
Sparks sat his starters a majority of the third quarter, before bringing them back in at the start of the fourth. The reserves exited the third quarter with the Lady Royals holding a 56-25 lead.
Grace Elliott, a post player who has missed a majority of the season recovering from a head injury she received in summer softball, came off the bench to score 12 points for New Site. Shelby Stricklen, an inside starter, added 10 points.
Alainey Hughes scored 10 to lead Hamilton.
A Daily Journal 2012 All-Area selection, senior guard Christy Clark, scored just seven points. She averages 16 for the Lady Royals.
“I can put so many out there who can score. Christy’s fine with that,” Sparks said. “We want to have balance and not have to depend on one player to score.”
Next up for New Site is the Prentiss County Tournament, which begins today at Jumpertown. New Site plays its first game on Friday.