Wilkinson Co. gets win

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wilkinson County High School’s Laspencia Brown goes up for a shot while being guarded by Crystal Spring’s Sankedria Tyler, left, and Ladella Hartley during their game Tuesday night at WCHS. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

WOODVILLE — The Wilkinson County Lady Wildcats used 21 points from Lineasia Palmer to jump out to a 12-point advantage after three quarters of play in their game Tuesday night against Crystal Springs.

Crystal Springs made a late fourth-quarter run to make the game close in the closing minutes, but Wilkinson County was able to hang on to win the MHSAA Region 7-3A matchup 59-54.

“This was a big win because now we’re 2-1 in the (region),” Wilkinson County assistant coach Alicia Packnett said. “It’s good we got the win, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

One aspect the Lady Wildcats will need to work on is handling pressure defense, Packnett said.

Crystal Springs turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter with a half-court trap defense that the Lady Wildcats had trouble solving, and that allowed the Lady Tigers to claw their way back into the contest and cut the Wilkinson County lead to two possessions with under two minutes to go in the game.

“We got lazy and content with the lead,” Packnett said. “I think we got comfortable with the lead instead of going out and playing for four quarters.”

Crystal Springs was able to force some turnovers in the fourth quarter, but Wilkinson County was able to respond to adversity and stop the Crystal Springs run by adjusting to the trap and finding some easy baskets when the pressure defense broke down.

“We maintained our mental composure,” Packnett said.

Palmer was the leading scorer for the Lady Wildcats with her 21 points, all of which came in the first three quarters. Malesia Slack scored 18 points for Wilkinson County and led the Lady Wildcats in the fourth quarter by scoring six of the team’s 10 points in the final period.

Ambernekia Palmer scored seven points, Sasha Carter added six points, Laspencia Brown netted five points and Fredricka Scott made a two-point basket to round out the scoring for the Lady Wildcats.

Slack, Laspencia Brown and Okanawa Brown each pulled down six rebounds for the Lady Wildcats.

Crystal Springs’ Makayla Young scored 21 points of her own to lead the Lady Tigers offense.

Wilkinson County’s performance in the first three quarters was enough to get the win Tuesday, but Packnett said it will be important for the Lady Wildcats to work on maintaining good play for a full game.

“We have to play all four quarters tough and aggressive,” she said.

The win brought Wilkinson County’s record to 12-8 on the season.

The Lady Wildcats will face Jefferson County in another region matchup Friday in Fayette.

Crystal Springs boys 63, Wilkinson County 58

The Wilkinson County boys played Crystal Springs to a tie through three quarters of their Region 7-3A matchup Tuesday night.

But Wilkinson County wore down in the fourth quarter, and Crystal Springs was able to win the final period, and the game, by five points.

Wilkinson County head coach Ronald Hines said the difference for the Wildcats in the 63-58 loss was that his team ran out of steam late in the contest.

“In the first half, we got the chance to do a few things and got in transition to get more easy buckets,” Hines said. “In the second half, they got back more and did a better job of stopping our transition.

“(We have to work on) just getting in shape.”

The Wildcats took a 36-33 lead into halftime before Crystal Springs held them to just 10 points in the third period to tie the contest going into the fourth quarter.

Philip Fountain led the Wildcats with 16 points, and Devin Voorhies added 13 points.

Hines said injures are another issue his team is dealing with. Delanie Ross, who scored four points in Tuesday’s game, and Marcus Robinson, who scored seven points, are both just getting back into the lineup after recovering from injuries. Also, Matthew Kelly is currently out for Wilkinson County after being involved in a car accident, Hines said.

“(Our issues) are more of a timing deal,” Hines said. “We are fighting injuries. If we can keep this group of guys on the floor, we will get better.”

The loss drops Wilkinson County to 3-14 on the season and 0-3 in region play.

The Wildcats will get another shot at their first region win Friday against Jefferson County.