Delta Charter girls falter in second half with loss of key player

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 7, 2018

Delta Charter School’s girls basketball team had a chance to keep its district record perfect Saturday night until a deciding moment shifted everything away from the Lady Storm.

With five minutes remaining in the third quarter Delta Charter’s Kierra Neal fouled out, leading to a disruption in momentum and a 62-39 loss to Tensas High.

“With your leading scorer and leading ball handler out, it’s rough,” DCS coach Ronald Ellis said. “She was basically out for two whole quarters. It’s hard especially in high school because we really can’t go that deep on the bench.”

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The Lady Storm (12-8, 2-1) was pressured early on a full-court defensive attack from Tensas, but adjusted to make smart passes down court and find open shots.

Shy Blaney made two 3-point shots in the first period to keep Delta Charter moving, but trouble rebounding gave Tensas a chance to keep the game close.

Things picked up for both teams after the midway point of the second quarter as Delta Charter scored 11 points on a run to give them a 29-27 lead at the half.

“We played well, and it was a good, solid first half,” Ellis said.

Tensas regulated its offense under the basket, pulling ahead 35-31 before Neal committed her fifth foul on the night. After that, the Lady Panthers stuck with easy layups to seal the win.

Poor ball handling was the falter for the Lady Storm in the second half as it scored just eight points in the third and fourth quarters combined.

“That one little thing just swung the game. They just made a run on us,” Ellis said. “We tried to keep confidence. They played hard, but it’s really tough. We are just praying something like that doesn’t happen again.”

Moving forward, Ellis hopes his team is able to realize what it is still capable of accomplishing despite the loss.

Neal had seven points for the Lady Storm in the first half. Cloi Cummings led the effort with 18 points on the night, while Blaney ended with 12.

“They can beat them, and they know they can beat them,” Ellis said. “They knew it before the game, so hopefully they still feel the same way afterward.”

Tensas (boys) 69, Delta Charter 47

Kavarius Whitehead scored a game-high 22 points but it wasn’t enough for Delta Charter as the Storm fell to Tensas, 69-47.

The Storm (7-15, 0-3) remain winless in district play with the loss.

Mike Smith added another 11 points for Delta Charter.

Both teams will play again Tuesday when they travel to Ouachita Christian.