By Marco Clark, exclusive to the Times
It was a battle of the Lady Tigers as St. Mary’s squared off against Winnfield Thursday night during Lakeview’s Jamboree. After winning the opening tip-off Winnfield moved up the court scoring two points on their first possession. St. Mary’s would inbound the ball for their first possession but were unable to convert. Winnfield takes over passing the ball down the court on a fast break lay-up to lead 4-0. After inbounding the ball, St. Mary’s slowed down the action. This move helped put St. Mary’s offense in position to score the their first points.
Winnfield moved quickly down the field in hopes of catching St. Mary’s out of position. Winnfield’s Bria Pikes drove the baseline for two-points. Winnfield up by four. St. Mary’s inbounds to Maggie Gilmore who passed to Ragan Hale for a uncontested three-pointer. Winnfield inbounds to Mikerra Evans who finds an open Jada Briggs under the basket. Briggs is fouled on her lay-up attempt and was sent to the free throw line. She hits both baskets to extend the lead to 8-5. Hale takes the inbound pass and finds Maria Bienvenu in the lane. Bienvenu is fouled going up for the basket.
She hits both free throws getting St. Mary’s back within one-point of Winnfield 8-7. Winnfield’s next possession would trigger a four-point run with Amaya McClain hitting a 9-foot jumper. St. Mary’s inbounded but Winnfield’s Z’Nyia Paul stole the pass and drove to the basket. She was fouled then hit both to extend the lead 12-7. St. Mary’s inbounds to Maggie Wheat who finds their go-to player, Bienvenu. She is fouled on the way up and goes to the line to convert one point
Winnfield inbounds with 25 seconds left in the first half to Briggs. She drives the lane and is fouled on her way up. She goes one of two from the line. 13-8 at the half. The second half told the story St. Mary’s scratched and clawed their way back to take the lead after trailing the entire game. Hale stepped up from the outside hitting a 12-foot jumper and a three-pointer to knot it up.
Winnfield could not overcome the smothering defense St. Mary’s unleashed during the opening of the second half. Winnfield players committed three consecutive turnovers that St. Mary’s Jensen Parker took advantage of by scoring four points.
St. Mary’s went on to win the game 23-17.