Lady Raiders continue to improveBy CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,
The Lady Raiders of Benton Academy are showing improvement on the court after competing in tournaments over the holiday break.
The Benton girls brought home two wins at the Canton Academy tournament after defeating Sharkey-Issaquena and Canton two weeks ago.
The Lady Raiders started off the new year by breaking even in Benton's Winter Tournament, hosted on January 3 and 4.
On Friday, January 3 the Benton girls defeated the Lady Rebels of Humphreys Academy with a score of 35-10.
Jewell Vandevere led the Lady Raiders on offense by scoring 13 points in the game. Gracey Manor also chipped in by adding 8 points to the board.
Coach Ed Waldrup said that these recent victories for the Lady Raiders are due to many improvements with the team's defense.
"The game against Humphreys was one of our best defensive games yet," he said. "The girls are getting better on defense because they understand what we are trying to do and they are playing a lot harder. When you defend better it gives you a chance to win."
The Benton girls continued on to Game 2 of the tournament on Saturday, Jan 4, where they faced off again with Tri-County.
Despite a well-fought effort on the court, the Lady Raiders eventually fell to the Lady Rebels 44-34.
"They outscored us 23-11 in the first half," Waldrup said. "We came back in the 3rd quarter and closed the gap to around a 3 or 4 point ball game, but we just couldn't quite get over the hump."
He added that even though the Lady Raiders put up a good fight in the second half of the game, they were still unable to dig themselves out of the hole.
Leading on offense against Tri County was Gracey Manor who scored 14 points for Benton, followed by Jewell Vandevere with 10.
"Those two are usually the ones who get into the double figures," Waldrup said. "What we need is a third leading scorer. We have players that are capable, but we need somebody who will step up and take the shots that need to be taken. It's hard to win ball games if only two kids get into double figures."