Thursday, February 17, 2005

Three county teams win regions
 • Lady Cardinals take 2-1A title

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

The Potts Camp Lady Cardinals are making a habit of winning district crowns on the home courts of their opponents.

Last year it was H.W. Byers. This year it was West Union.

“That makes it even sweeter,” said Kevin Harris, whose Lady Cardinals won their second straight Region 2-1A championship Friday night.

The Potts Camp girls were slated to host Pine Grove Monday night in the first round of North State. With a win, they advance to the quarter-finals on Thursday at a site to be announced.

The Lady Cardinals tipped off Region 2-1A Tournament play on Monday, Feb. 14, by dominating Hickory Flat 63-42.

Leading scorer Arnetta Howell was not feeling well. She didn’t score in double digits, and neither did the team’s second leading scorer, Latrece Walker.

“Thank goodness we have enough people to pick up the slack,” Harris said.

Taquita Evans and Kenyotta Jenkins gunned in 18 points each for Potts Camp, which led 35-14 at halftime.

“Jasmine (Harmon) scored six points, all in the first half, and really gave us a lift,” he said.

The Lady Cardinals ran into a buzz saw named the H.W. Byers Lady Lions in Thursday’s semi-finals but survived 75-66.

“Byers played as well as I’ve seen them play all year,” Harris said. “But my team has been around the block enought to know you can’t get too upset when kids are hitting tough shots against you. Basketball usually averages out.”

Evans and Walker were in foul trouble all night long. The Lady Cardinals trailed 12-11 after one quarter and 32-30 at the half.

An old-fashioned, three-point play from Walker gave Potts Camp a 37-34 lead with 6:59 to go in the third quarter. Byers bounced back to lead 53-47 with 31 seconds to go in the period on a basket by Ciara Seldon. The Lady Cardinals trailed 55-49 after three.

They then outsocred Byers 26-11 in the fourth quarter to escape with nine-point win. Two seniors, Evans and Howell, sparked the fourth quarter rally.

“We were six points down going into the fourth, but our demeanor didn’t change,” Harris said. “We knew we had to perform better.”

Powering the offensive attack in the win were Howell with 22, Walker with 19 and Jenkins with 12.

He said Kayla Reed helped keep it close in the first half with seven points, and Evans scored nine points in the game, six of those in the fourth quarter.

The second-seeded Potts Camp girls then knocked off top-seeded West Union 48-40 on its home floor Friday night for the first-place trophy.

“In the first half, their zone defense gave us trouble,” Harris said. “We were up by three (16-13) at the half but felt in control if we had made some shots we normally make.”

At the same time, Harris said his team’s strong defensive effort gave West Union trouble, too.

The Lady Cardinals (25-9 on the season) outscored West Union 10-5 in the third.

“Ten is not an offensive explosion, but it was crucial,” Harris said. “We made a run at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth and went up by 15 at one point.”

Jenkins scored six of her 13 points in the third, “plus she drew two very big fouls on West Union’s center to send her to the bench with four fouls,” Harris said, “and attacking the zone was easier.”

Howell’s 16 points led Potts Camp. Walker scored 14.

Brittany McGaha had a game-high 24 points for West Union (25-7).

“They have three girls averaging in double digits,” Harris said.”I was proud of our defensive effort.”

Potts Camp Cardinals

Coach Chris Ferrell’s Potts Camp boys also qualified for North State for the second consecutive season. They finished third in the district last week.

They were slated to visit Falkner on Tuesday night in the first round of North State.

“We feel good about the way we played in the district tournament,” Ferrell said. “Our tough schedule is paying off, and I think we’re mentally tougher. I believe were carring some momentum into the North State Tournament.”

The fifth-seeded Cardinals beat fourth-seeded Myrtle 78-66 to start the Region 2-1A Tournament. The two teams had split during the regular season.

““We defended well,” Ferrell said. “We held them to 18 points in the first half (leading 31-18), and then played them even in the second half. I was pleased.”

Stephen Simon was the top gun for Potts Camp. He scored 25. Reggie Lesure and Chris Christian added 14 and 12, respectively.

“We knew if lost, our season was over,” Ferrell said. “That always gets your attention.”

The high-flying Cardinals then met top-seeded Hickory Flat in the semi-finals Thursday, and almost pulled off the upset. They lost 54-51.

A two-point bucket from Simon with four seconds left gave Potts Camp a 26-20 halftime advantage and lots of momentum.

Hickory Flat rallied to go ahead 31-29 at the 3:35 mark of the third, thanks to a bucket from Jamarus Mitchell. The went up 39-33. Lesure hit two “threes” to cut Potts Camp’s deficit to 43-39 at the end of the period.

The lead swapped hands a couple of times in the fourth.

“It was a heck of a game,” Ferrell said. “We missed two free throws late that hurt.”

Potts Camp trailed 52-51 with 3.3 seconds left and had to go the length of the floor.

“We ran a play that worked, but the in-bounds pass hit the rafters,” Ferrell said.

Daniel Tatum hit two free throws for Hickory Flat.

A desparation half-court shot by Potts Camp at the buzzer just missed.

“We played well,” Ferrell said.

Simon and Lesure scored 18 and 14, respectively, for Potts Camp.

Leading Hickory Flat were Mitchell and Tatum with 20 each.

Potts Camp bounced back strong in the consolation game Friday night as they beat second-seeded DeSoto Central 78-58.

“We let one slip away against Hickory Flat, and were all down,” Ferrell said. “But we talked Friday before leaving for the game, and we came out and really played well. I was so pleased with the way we bounced back.”

DeSoto Central had beaten Potts Camp twice in the regular season.

The Cardinals (13-20 on the season) fell behind 22-16 after one quarter but then outscored the Jaguars in every quarter thereafter – 18-14, 18-11 and 26-21.

Lesure lit up the scoreboard with 26 points. Simon and Jacobye Davis added 18 and 16, respectively.

“This team has shown me it can bounce back from adversity,” Ferrell said. “I was very pleased with how we wrapped up the district tournament. It was an exciting week.”


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