Lady Eagles shoot down Tallulah, 80-42

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 5, 2001

[01/05/01] TALLULAH Kayla Barnette knew she was shooting at the wrong basket. Unfortunately for Tallulah, she and the rest of the Lady Eagles weren’t shooting at it the whole night.

After a slow start, the Lady Eagles (12-7) shot 49 percent from the field to cruise past the Lady Trojans, 80-42, Thursday.

K.K. Willis led PCA with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, E.J. Willis had 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals, Brady Willis had 15 points and five steals and Brittany White had eight points, six rebounds and three steals.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

Jaclyn Smith led Tallulah (4-11, 0-1 Conference 7-A) with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Katie Magouin added 13 points and nine rebounds.

But it was a “basket” by Barnette, who had eight points, that had everyone talking. She took a pass on a fast break in the final seconds and hit a layup on a practice goal standing over the Lady Eagles’ bench. She was called for a technical foul.

“We talked about it coming out of the locker room. It was just something fun to do, there was nothing bad about it,” Barnette said. “I had a couple of mommas asking me if I knew how to shoot or not. I told them that I did.”

The move was suggested during a timeout as a joke by PCA coach Mitchell Willis, but Tallulah coach Dorothy Ainsworth wasn’t laughing after the game.

“I thought that was uncalled for. Very unsportsmanlike. That was like a slap in the face. I didn’t appreciate it … neither did our fans,” Ainsworth said.

PCA fans said they were upset by a Tallulah press late in the junior high girls game when Tallulah led by 20 points. They were pleased, however, with the performance of the varsity Lady Eagles.

After hitting just 3 of its first 11 shots, PCA led 9-6 with 3:27 to play in the first quarter. Following a timeout, PCA went on an 11-2 run to close the quarter and never looked back. The Lady Eagles opened a 44-21 lead by halftime, and outscored the outmanned Lady Trojans in every quarter while substituting often.

Tallulah has only nine players on its roster, and three fouled out, including Smith and point guard Audrey Bess Hopkins, who had five points.

“It’s our first game to really play as a team. We had a lot of assists, everybody did,” White said. “The last five games we’ve been playing our own thing, but tonight we played as a team.”

Tallulah 52, PCA 43

Tallulah Academy missed its shot to put Porters Chapel Academy away early Thursday night. PCA just missed shots.

PCA shot just 23 percent from the field in the first half against the Trojans (10-5, 1-0 Conference 7-A) and 34 percent for the game but trailed by only nine at halftime and cut it to one with about 2 1/2 minutes to play.

Tallulah then went on an 8-1 run and outscored the Eagles (1-14, 0-1) 11-3 the rest of the way to claim a 52-43 victory.

“We shot ourselves out of the basketball game with ill-advised shots. We gave the ball away. We played lazy defense. We came down three times in a row and had three turnovers. They came down three times and had three layups,” PCA coach Roger Browning said of the final minutes.

Derek Busby led Tallulah with 12 points, Hardy Arledge added 11, Stuart Frith scored 10 off the bench and Jonathon Williams had nine.

Trey White led PCA with 23 points and six rebounds, and connected on five 3-pointers, including two in the fourth quarter. His last one, with about 2:30 to play, cut Tallulah’s lead to 41-40.

The Eagles could get no closer, however. The Trojans turned three turnovers into three baskets and the one-point deficit turned into a seven-point deficit in just over a minute and a half.

White drove the lane for a layup to cut it to 48-43 with about 30 seconds left, but Tallulah finished off the Eagles from the free throw line for the final margin.

Two of the Eagles’ biggest offensive threats, Joseph Ivey and Andrew Embry, also fouled out with about a minute left. Both players scored six points, and Ivey also grabbed seven rebounds.

“That was crucial,” Browning said of the foul-outs. “That hurt us. Especially Joseph, because of the rebounding.”

The Eagles were just 3-for-13 from the field in the first half including a woeful 1-for-9 effort in the first quarter and they tried to force passes, but the Trojans were never able to pull away.

Tallulah was only 11-for-25 in the first half and was outrebounded 18-7, allowing them to gain just a 24-15 halftime edge.

“Sometimes it happens that way. We missed a bunch of shots, and of course they did too, so we just couldn’t make anything there at the first,” Tallulah coach Kiley King said. “Of course if they hit, maybe they could have put us away.”