MRA edges HHS girls in Big Easy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

NEW ORLEANS &045; The score will never matter. Just the chance to come back to the Miss-Lou and tell their friends, family, future children and grandchildren that they once played in the New Orleans Arena, is enough for a lifetime for the Huntington girls.

Lady Hounds’ head coach Michael McAnally was impressed and proud of the way his team carried themselves throughout the 43-36 defeat to Madison Regional.

Not once did the girls get overwhelmed by the fact they were suiting up and playing on the same court where in just hours New Orleans Hornets, such as Baron Davis, Jamal Mashburn and David Wesley, would go up against the greatest basketball player ever &045; Michael Jordan.

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&uot;Any time you walked into an arena like the one here, there is that initial feeling of being awestruck, but I think the girls were more excited for this opportunity,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;There was a big adjustment to everybody’s depth perception of shooting. I thought they handled it real well.&uot;

Erin Hedrick and Tiffany Ferguson scored 15 and 11 for Huntington (17-7), respectively, as each senior picked up the load for post Emily Hazlip, who got into early foul trouble.

Hazlip finished with just three points.

&uot;We had to have people step up an we could not get a string of baskets behind one another in the game,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;I have to give MRA credit for being patient and disciplined.&uot;

Both teams worked the kinks and butterflies out in a relatively low-scoring first half that saw the Lady Hounds lead after one period, 9-6, only to have MRA bounce back by halftime to tie the score at 14-all.

Regan Flowers and Rachel Phillips matched Huntington’s number of players to score double digits as Flowers led MRA with 15 with Phillips chipping in 12 of her own.

The game never was decided until late in the game. MRA took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter, 28-24, but failed to put the Lady Hounds away.

Huntington was in good shape to take the lead late, when it cut its deficit to two, 37-35.

But he Lady Hounds failed to convert on a one-and-one from the free throw line deep in the fourth period.

MRA came away with the win on some key baskets late in the game.

&uot;I thought this was a great experience for our girls to have,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;To have the chance to play on a professional floor is something for a lifetime.

&uot;Certainly you want to walk away with a win, but the girls had a great time.&uot;