Lady Raiders lose close one in 38-36 shootout

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Benton Academy Lady Raiders are now 2-5 after a hard fought battle against Central Holmes Christian School on Tuesday.  The Lady Raiders fell by only 2 points with a score of 38-36.

"I think we played our best game last night, by far," said Coach Ed Waldrup. "The effort was good and we shot a little better.  (The girls) actually did what we prepared for."

The Benton girls started out slow against the Lady Trojans, ending the first quarter a few points behind with a score of 14-3.

"We had plenty of opportunities to score but just did not shoot well enough," Waldrup said.

The Lady Raiders bounced back in the second quarter, scoring 14 points on the Lady Trojans, and closing the gap to 21-17.

"We had talked about trying to get their energy level up and last night they did a good job of that," Waldrup said.

The Benton Girls continued to fight, scoring another 11 points in the 3rd quarter, but were still a basket behind Central Holmes, who was still leading 30-28.

In this part of the game, both teams got into foul trouble and had to place some of their best players on the bench, including Benton's Jewell Vandevere.

"It hurt both of us to have players on the bench for foul trouble," Waldrup said.

The Lady Raiders didn't quit, and put out a great effort until the final buzzer, falling by only 2 points to Central Holmes with a score of 38-36.

Waldrup said that despite the outcome, the game showed that the Benton girls made a positive step forward.

"Normally when we have been down in the past we have just accepted it," he said. "I thought we had a great effort last night and I hope we can build on that.  I think it's a good sign of things to come, so we will see what happens."

Standing out on offense in this game was Gracey Manor, who scored 14 points for the Lady Raiders.  Sunny Sellers made an impact on the board with 7 points, and Jewell Vandevere had 5.

"Manor scored really well for us," Waldrup said. "She had some pretty good opportunities and made the most of them."

He added that the Benton girls made some improvements on defense as well.

"The effort was there last night," he said. "Because of that effort we overcame some of the mistakes that we have been making."

Going forward, the Lady Raiders will travel to Kirk Academy next Monday, and then will face Winona Christian on Tuesday.