Delta flexes muscle, KOs PCA

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2002

Kayla Barnette of PCA grimaces as she is stopped by Delta’s Lindsay Roy (33) in the lane. At left is PCA’s K.K. Willis.(Special to The Vicksburg Post/ TAYLOR WILSOn)

[02/22/02] MARKS There was no drama this time.

No buzzer-beaters, no controversial calls, no crucial last-minute blunders.

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By the time No. 5 Delta Academy was finished dismantling Porters Chapel Academy Thursday night, all there was for the Lady Eagles was the dull finality of an early blowout and the frustration and heartache of another state tournament loss to Delta.

Delta (44-1) started the game with a 13-0 run and never led by less than 10 points after that.

Lindsay Roy scored 27 of her game-high 29 points in the first half as the Lady Raiders built a 20-point halftime lead and cruised to a 72-46 win in the Academy-A state tournament quarterfinals.

It’s the fourth time in five seasons that Delta has beaten PCA (22-12) in the state tournament.

PCA’s K.K. Willis scored 16 points in the last game of her injury-plagued high school career, while Brady Willis added 10 points and seventh-grader Brittany Willis had eight. PCA shot just 31 percent from the field in the first three quarters.

“Our shots just wouldn’t fall. We did everything right. We blocked out good, we took our time with our shots … we just couldn’t hit our shots,” PCA coach Mitchell Willis said. “If you’re going to get beat, I’d rather get beat by the No. 1 team in the state than by somebody you know you’re better than … They’re just good.”

There was little doubt from the outset which was the better team. Roy scored Delta’s first seven points and the Lady Raiders held PCA scoreless for nearly five minutes while building the big early lead. Delta was 7-for-12 from the field in the first quarter and led 20-7 at the end of the period.

“We couldn’t wait to play,” said Delta’s Lauren Adams, who had 20 points and five assists. “We were ready to play after three days of watching basketball.”

K.K. Willis finally got the Lady Eagles on the scoreboard with a layup with 3:15 to play in the first quarter, but she picked up her third foul about a minute later.

Brady Willis also got into early foul trouble, picking up her third with 2:47 to play in the opening period. With the Lady Eagles reeling, neither player was pulled and both played nearly the entire game. Amazingly, neither one fouled out, but the foul situation made the difficult task of slowing down Roy and Adams both of whom average more than 20 points per game nearly impossible.

Roy hit four 3-pointers and Adams had 11 points in the first half as Delta increased the lead to 40-20 by halftime.

“We couldn’t do anything else on defense, inside or anything,” Brady Willis said. “Once we got in foul trouble, we couldn’t help inside … .”

Thoughts of an improbable comeback flashed through the Lady Eagles’ heads in the opening moments of the third quarter, but they were soon doused.

PCA’s Brittany White was fouled and hit one free throw on the first possession of the second half to cut it to 40-21, but Delta answered with a 16-2 run that pushed the lead over 30 and ended any doubt about the outcome. The Lady Raiders led by as many as 36 points in the second half, a 64-28 advantage at the end of the third quarter.

“We thought we could come back, but every shot they took went in,” said PCA’s Kayla Barnette, who had five points and six rebounds. “They were just hitting everything. Even though they put in the second string, they were still hitting.”

The Lady Eagles outscored Delta’s reserves 18-8 in the fourth quarter.

“They’re a good team. They kept fighting there until the end,” Delta coach Craig Dailey said. “You can tell K.K. (Willis) was real hurt with her knees, and that’s real sad.”

Barnette said PCA also earned some respect with its winning season, despite the bitter ending.

“I was happy we beat Wayne (Tuesday). All year, nobody thought much of us because E.J. (Willis) was gone,” Barnette said. “They didn’t even think we’d make it here.”