Lady Wave still aiming to get over hump in 7-1A

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

Nearly every time Cathedral&8217;s Lady Wave stays in a game until late in the third quarter or early in the fourth this season, something has happened.

Head coach Kathy Graning has a hunch. And it&8217;s not entirely the adjustments other teams make late in the game.

The numbers tell the story &8212; one region win this season, one last season, two the season before and a near-winless 2002-03 season until the final regular season game against St. Al.

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The program&8217;s struggles in recent seasons may be the biggest adversity the team has to overcome &8212; in short, merely learning how to win. Again on Friday, the Lady Wave was in the game late against a good Enterprise team before falling 64-54.

&8220;It&8217;s still in their heads,&8221; Graning said. &8220;If we can just get over the hump and beat one of those teams who have beaten us handily over the past few years, it&8217;ll do a world of good over here. Games like this show them that we can play with those programs.&8221;

The Lady Wave tried to do it Friday night with two guards out with bad ankles and another out for the season with an ACL. Caitlin Huffines and Mandi Richardson are nursing the ankles, and Alex Nickels is out for the season.

Cathedral relied on Brandi McGraw to do most of the ball handling along with Mattie Smith, and the two picked it up the pressure on the defensive end.

The Lady Wave won last week against Dexter in a region game after beating the same Lady Bulldogs the week prior in the Wesson tournament &8212; which may have been the team&8217;s best showing this season.

&8220;We&8217;ve got to get used to the fact that we can win,&8221; Smith said. &8220;We&8217;ve been making it a game. We&8217;re pretty much fed up with losing. We&8217;re trying to turn it around.

&8220;That (first Dexter game) was the first game we played as a team and played the whole game through. We came back from being down 10 twice. We fought hard in that game, and that&8217;s something to roll over into our other games.&8221;

On Friday the Lady Wave cut it to three at the end of the third quarter, but Alisha Mason helped spark Enterprise to the win. The Lady Yellow Jackets have beaten West Lincoln this season, and Mason is a big reason why.

Mason, standing at least 6-1 with ability to handle the ball and shoot mid-range jumpers, put up 32 on Cathedral but struggled some in the first half.

&8220;She&8217;s going to find a way,&8221; Graning said. &8220;We did the same thing last year with her. It doesn&8217;t matter what you do. We weren&8217;t playing bad defense on her. They made some 3-pointers early, which really surprised me because I didn&8217;t think they could shoot very well.&8221;

It&8217;s games like Friday and Tuesday at St. Al &8212; Cathedral led 12-11 after one &8212; that gives Graning and everyone else reason to believe things could be different later in the season or at the region tournament at Enterprise.

The Lady Wave hosts Salem Tuesday and visits Bogue Chitto Friday.

&8220;We&8217;ve just got to get over the hump,&8221; senior Aisha Sanders said. &8220;Everybody has been downing us. We&8217;re trying to prove we&8217;re not bad and we can really play. Our defense &8212; that&8217;s our stroing point. We&8217;ve got to score more points than we did (Friday).&8221;

BACK FROM N.O. &8212; Ronesha Charles went missing from the Ferriday lineup over the holidays when the New Orleans native and her family went back home.

Now Charles, a quick guard for the Lady Trojans, is back and helping make things go. Charles put up 15 points in Tuesday&8217;s win over Natchez High to go with 25 points from Kiawanna McDowell in the team&8217;s final tune-up before district.

&8220;She was gone the entire break, and she came back in time for the Sicily Island tournament,&8221; FHS head coach Lisa Abron said. &8220;She&8217;s kind of sluggish right now, but she has fit in real good with the program. We&8217;re very happy to have her.&8221;

The team was back at full strength Friday and took Tuesday off while the school&8217;s boys&8217; team played at Northwest for its final tuneup. District starts Tuesday when Vidalia visits, and from there everyone&8217;s sights may be set on Lake Providence &8212; perhaps the favorite to win the girls&8217; side with a strong post player inside.

&8220;They&8217;ve been playing some tough teams,&8221; Abron said. &8220;She&8217;s strong, and I think she&8217;s a senior. From what I hear, she&8217;s getting looks from some colleges.&8221;