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Loyd Star spoils season-openersat St. Al; Hayden not discouraged

[11/7/01]Finding a bright spot from St. Aloysius’ season-opener wasn’t easy, but coach Paul Hayden did it.

He pointed out that the Lady Flashes held Loyd Star’s Beth Smith without a 3-pointer in the second half.

Trouble was, she hit six in the first half as the Lady Hornets pulled away and went on to win, 55-28.

Smith, a junior, scored 20 of her game-high 22 in the first half of the season-opener for both teams.

Leslie Dyess led St. Al with 11 points and Kelly Haden chipped in eight points and nine rebounds.

Smith was the difference, Hayden said.

“The first couple, she was open, but after that, we had someone in her face,” he said. “She just made them. That gave them the momentum and we didn’t counter. We got excited and turned the ball over.”

The Lady Flashes withstood nine first-quarter turnovers to stay within striking distance, 13-8. Midway through the second quarter, Smith sparked her team. She hit a 3, then got a steal and drained a pullup jumper before adding one more 3 with 25 seconds left in the half.

When she was finished, the Lady Hornets led 32-16 at the break.

“She’s been working on her shot,” said Loyd Star coach Lori Britt, whose team finished 20-8 and made it to the first round of the playoffs last season, falling to 2A powerhouse Bay Springs. “She came off the bench for us a lot last year.”

She got to stay on the bench for much of the second half. When she was on the floor, she was guarded closely.

“We made an adjustment,” Hayden said. “At least she didn’t hit any in the second half.”

The Lady Flashes hit just 11 of 50 shots (22 percent) from the field while Loyd Star was 21-of-54 (39 percent). Smith was 8-of-16 overall, 6-of-10 on 3-pointers.

The Lady Hornets’ biggest lead was 35, 44-19, after Felicia Henderson’s 3-pointer late in the third quarter.

For St. Al, Carrie Neill came off the bench to contribute four points, four rebounds, a block and a steal and Amber Misiak added two steals.

“I saw some good things, and I saw some things we need to work on,” Hayden said. “We haven’t even had a full week of practice … I’m not desperate yet.”

(B) Loyd Star 66, St. Al 30

While the Flashes were having trouble finding the basket, Hayden found himself a post player.

Kyle Richards led St. Al with 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting. But the rest of the Flashes were a woeful 3-of-43. St. Al shot an anemic 18 percent from the field.

“We were much better in the second half,” Hayden said. “We showed a little fight.”

Loyd Star raced to a 34-10 halftime lead, but St. Al kept the pace in the second, getting outscored, 26-20.

Richards, who also led St. Al with nine rebounds, got a putback with 2:10 left in the half to end the Flashes’ second-quarter drought.

“We’ve got a young team,” said Hornets coach Gene Britt (no relation to Lori Britt). “We still don’t have several players from football.”

He was missing eight players who are still on the gridiron, but still had 10 who dressed out and played. The Flashes, still minus four significant contributors, dressed out only seven.

Sophomore point guard Jared Britt led the Hornets with 20 points, 6-foot-5 post player Jamie Johnson added 19 and Jessie Jones chipped in 13. Johnson, a junior, missed the last two seasons with broken ankles, one of which happened in football, the other in basketball.

For St. Al, Victor Segers had seven points and Alan Ebersole had six rebounds and two steals.

Richards scored nine of his 13 second-half points in the third quarter.

“He showed a lot of presence,” Hayden said.

“We just can’t be down. I’m not discouraged.”

St. Al will host Riverside Tuesday if Riverside doesn’t make the football playoffs.