Lady Panthers defeat St. Andrews

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Yazoo County Lady Panthers have secured the #3 spot in their conference after defeating St. Andrews 60-42 last Friday.

This win improves the Yazoo County Girls' record to 9-12 overall and 4-2 in district.

After playing the Lady Saints once before, Coach Christine Demus and the Lady Panthers had already devised a strategy to help win the game.

"Our strategy was to contain their two best players, both of whom gave us fits during our first game," Demus said.

This plan seemed to work for the Yazoo County girls, who came out hot and ended the first quarter leading with a score of 12-7.

Part of Demus' plan to take control of the game included making changes to the starting lineup.  Catherine Collum stepped in to play the point guard position early in the game, which added to the success of the first quarter.

The Lady Panthers continued to use their strategy into the second quarter, and Demus began to rotate in her second line-up into the game, adding more points to the scoreboard. Alex Carter, Kennidy Irvin, and Niya Frierson put forth extra effort on offense and defense for the Lady Panthers, who closed out the first half with a lead of 26-14.

"Those three really stepped it up for us on the defensive end, so that kind of turned things around for us on the offensive," Demus said.

In the locker room for the half-time break, Demus said that she reminded her players on the fundamentals of rebounding the basketball, and to keep a watchful eye for any new plays from the opponent.

"St. Andrews is really good at running set plays and they run a whole lot of screens," she said. "I told them that we needed to communicate on the screens and continue to be tough on them."

In the third quarter, the Lady Panthers continued to bring the heat as Demus rotated in more players to get game time and to rest her starters.

This strategy worked well as the Yazoo County girls added more points to the board and widened the gap out to 40-28.

"Our younger girls are performing really well at this point of the season and I am actually very impressed," Demus said.

The start of the fourth quarter was a little slow, however, for the Lady Panthers, and it seemed that St. Andrews was getting a second wind.  But as Demus rotated her starters back in, the Lady Panthers soon took back control over the game.

"We kind of went into a stalled offense because everything was going in St. Andrews favor at that moment," she said. "We wanted to just slow it down and force them out.  Eventually it started to go back into the right direction for us."

Akeriunna Frierson stood out in the fourth quarter after sinking two free throws, and then stealing the ball and making another lay-up seconds later, improving the score to 55-38 for the Lady Panthers.

Kennidy Irvin also made an impact in the fourth quarter by recovering the ball and scoring baskets when needed.

"She came in very aggressive tonight," Demus said. "Tonight was a great confidence booster for Kennidy.  She played great on both ends."

After a well played game on the court, the Lady Panthers sent the Lady Saints home with a score of 60-42, taking another conference win and sealing their spot at #3 in the district.

"I was very impressed by the way that we finished," Demus said. "There are some areas that we still need to work on before we face Velma Jackson next week, so we will just go back to the drawing board on Monday."

Leading the Lady Panthers on offense in this game was Kennidy Irvin with 16 points.  Jordan Scott followed close behind with 15 points, and Akeriunna Frierson had 11.

On defense, Demus said that both Alex Carter and Catherine Collum made a huge impact.

"Alex has been making some really really tough plays on defence," she said. "And I think Catherine Collum did a great job anticipating passes and seeing the floor on the defensive end as well."