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WCCA Lady Rams end basketball season in MAIS Overall tourney

CLINTON — The WCCA Lady Rams lost 46-17 to Jackson Preparatory School in the first round of the 2020 MAIS Overall Basketball Tournament on Tuesday afternoon.

The WCCA Lady Rams won the District 3-A Tournament championship and finished in third place in both the Class 1A South State and State Tournaments, the latter of which earned them a berth in the Overall Tournament at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College.

That was the good news. The bad news was that they had to take on Class 5A state champion and the No. 1 seed Lady Patriots. The Lady Patriots’ experience and size were too much for the Lady Rams to handle.

And that was clearly obvious in the first half. Jackson Prep (26-9) shut out WCCA in the first quarter en route to a 12-0 lead. The Lady Rams scored just one point on a free throw in the second quarter to go into halftime trailing 29-1.

“We were overwhelmed with the situation in the first half,” Lady Rams head coach Mike McGaw said. “It was more so kind of overwhelmed that we were playing Jackson Prep. We’ve never played them before. Our depth perception with the arena was not well in the first half.”

A completely different Lady Rams team as far as focus and determination showed up in the second half. They held their own with the Lady Patriots on both ends of the court and didn’t appear as intimidated as they were in the first half.

Jackson Prep outscored WCCA by just one point, 11-10, in the third quarter and both teams scored six points in the fourth quarter.

“Once we woke up, we started playing well in the second half,” McGraw said. “We played better defense and shot the ball a little better.”

Even though the Lady Patriots won in such lopsided fashion, not one player on their team scored in double figures. They were led by Julia Stradinger with seven points while Campbell Perkins and Mackenzie Shomaker scored six points each.

The Lady Rams were led by Kenzie Bryant and Gracie Cavin with four points apiece. Cheylin Bolden added three points. The finished their season with an overall record of 14-13 and will have almost all of their players back for the 2020-2021 season.

“I’m proud of them. They scrapped hard all year. Nobody expected us to get that far,” McGraw said. “We started one senior (Alexis June) and one junior (Lexi Freeman). We had one other junior (Sara Smith) who was out for much of the season with an injury. The other starters were two sophomores and a freshman.”