Lady Chiefs on hot streak heading into Tuesday at Trinity

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

Don’t start getting a sigh of relief next month when things start wrapping up for Tensas Academy’s girls.

Shoot, they may be just getting started.

A team with just two seniors and four sophomores who start pretty regularly can put the District 7-A regular season title on ice Tuesday if they win at Trinity Episcopal.

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Doing so, head coach Chuck Bauerle said, won’t be easy. But the Lady Chiefs (18-4, 8-0) have become one of the better teams in Class A with a team that’s only going to get better in the coming seasons.

&uot;We’re in pretty good shape right now and feel pretty good about the way things are,&uot; Bauerle said. &uot;I don’t think we’re head and shoulders ahead of everybody else, but we’ve got some quickness and our defense has held us in games all season long. We’re all young, and hopefully that will bear some fruit in the coming years.&uot;

The Lady Chiefs don’t have the inside game that others have &045; they sometimes shift a guard down on the post to throw teams for a loop &045; but just get after people on defense.

Two weeks ago the Lady Chiefs had to use their defensive pressure to put away Huntington after going cold from the outside.

Whitney Alford plays inside mostly, but teams like Huntington suffered from the team’s quickness on defense.

&uot;We’ve found in the last two or three games people have been playing a 2-3 zone against us,&uot; Bauerle said.&160;&uot;But we’ve been playing full court and getting some transition buckets. We’ve come together a lot, and I think the girls are realizing it’s going to be defense. You hear that a lot from coaches, but it’s true. Offense will come and go, but if you’re consistent on defense you’ll win some ball games.&uot;

Tuesday’s game against an improved Trinity club will take a defensive effort, particularly on leading scorers Mallory Archer and Sierra Massey.

The two teams have locked up spots in the district tournament &045; next week at Amite &045; which come with automatic berths in the South State tournament later at Greenville Christian.

But the Lady Saints still have a shot at the No. 2 spot.

&uot;Trinity is playing real well right now,&uot; Bauerle said.&160;&uot;We haven’t won the district in probably three or four years. The girls are kind of hungry for it, too. But we’ll have a big game against Trinity, and (coach) Melanie Hall always has them ready to play. I like Mallory &045; she’s a real good kid and plays hard.&uot;

REGION DICKENS &045; Charles meet Marcus Walton, Marcus meet Charles Dickens.

One of the 19th century’s most popular writers introduced his readers to the French Revolution epic A Tale of Two Cities with the line, &uot;It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.&uot;

That is a sentiment Walton, the head coach at Jefferson County, reluctantly shares after his Tigers dropped their third consecutive Region 7-3A road contest Friday to Liberty County.

It was on the morning of Jan. 16 that Jefferson County led the region. Now at 6-4, the Tigers are in fourth behind the front-running Trojans (6-1), Wilkinson County (7-2) and Franklin County (5-2).

The bad news is Jefferson County hits the road for its final region game Tuesday at Hazlehurst; the good news is Jefferson County hits the road for its final region game Tuesday at Hazlehurst.

&uot;I look at it as a privilege to play in this district here because year-in and year-out (it’s tough),&uot; Walton said. &uot;We’re all competitive, so the kids know they have to stay motivated because one letdown and they’ve lost everything they’ve worked for.&uot;

Hazlehurst sits at the other end of the standings with Port Gibson and North Pike.

However, the Indians host this year’s postseason tournament, and Walton is not about to count them nor any of the other current bottom feeders from making some noise.

&uot;Hazlehurst is going to be the home team, which means they’ll be pumped. North Pike beat Franklin County at North Pike. Port Gibson has just as much talent as anybody else,&uot; he explained. &uot;That’s why I say from top to bottom it’s up in the air. If somebody catches fire at the right time, look out.&uot;

PRESSING ISSUE &045; You gotta watch that Robert Sanders. He’s a shark roaming the sidelines &045; and not in the Jerry Tarkanian, biting-a-towel sense.

No, Sanders’ ability to perceive things and stay a step ahead with the dry-erase board is an additional weapon in Vidalia’s arsenal.

Sanders opted to switch to a 1-3-1 full-court press from the Vikings’ traditional 2-2-1 for Friday’s district 4-2A matchup against Ferriday, and the move paid off immensely.

&uot;I thought we’d try something new. (Ferriday) was probably accustomed to our old press,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;This allowed us to cover the middle a lot better.&uot;

It also compelled the Trojans into turnovers, which resulted in uncontested layups or pull-up jumpers for Vidalia in its 47-29 victory Friday.

Ferriday head coach James Davis said the Trojans prepared for the press and it’s getting time where the excuses are growing stale.

&uot;We worked on it all week long. We spent as much time on the press as everything else and the kids didn’t respond,&uot; he said. &uot;What more can I do? At some point these kids are going to have to take some responsibility.&uot;

(Sports writer

Chuck Corder

contributed to this report.)