Richards’ huge night lifts St. Al past Wesson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2003

St. Aloysius’ Sara Burrell, right, tries to regain control of the basketball as Wesson’s Anna Johnson defends during the second quarter of their game Monday night. The Lady Flashes won, 42-38. (Melanie Duncan ThortisThe Vicksburg Post)

(11/25/03)The St. Aloysius Flashes found a simple formula for success on Monday night: pass the ball inside to Kyle Richards and then hang on for dear life.

Richards went off for 30 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots, but St. Al had to survive a fourth-quarter meltdown and a late charge by Wesson to claim its first win of the season, 65-62.

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Anthony Rector had 12 points, six assists and four steals for St. Al (1-3). He hit a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds to play that iced the game after St. Al had squandered a double-digit lead.

Herman Johnson and Adrien Merchant each had 14 points to lead Wesson (3-3).

“That fourth quarter was scary. I really thought they were going to edge back into it,” Richards said. “We got a little sloppy, started pressing a little bit and got anxious, I guess, trying to put it away and just let them creep back into the game. We settled down and finally put it away at the end.”

St. Al built an 11-point lead with about 3 minutes to play in the game, but Wesson responded.

Wesson’s press took its toll on the Flashes, resulting in a series of steals and layups that let the Cobras slither back into the game. Johnny Butler hit a pair of quick baskets to cap a 14-4 Wesson run and cut it to 63-62 with just under 30 seconds to play, and the Cobras got the ball back with 19.4 seconds remaining when Drew Mazzanti was called for an offensive foul well away from the ball.

The run ended there when Butler was called for traveling with 7.9 seconds to play, and Rector was fouled on the inbounds play.

“I put a couple of my J.V. guys in and they sparked a little comeback,” Wesson coach Ron Kessler said. “I brought the starters back in with about five to go and they got it all the way back to two or one. It just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”

(G) St. Al 42, Wesson 38

St. Al senior Laura Beth Lyons had a game-high 21 points, Sarah Kerut had 11 points, nine rebounds and a crucial steal late in the game and Caitlin Moak grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Lady Flashes overcome 34 turnovers and beat Wesson.

Hayley Carr had 13 points and six steals for Wesson, which shot just 23 percent for the game.

“That wasn’t pretty,” Hayden said with a laugh. “It was ugly, but I’ll take it. It was a win, and they needed a win. For some reason Wesson just brings out … I don’t know what it is. For some reason we just play very sloppy, and we picked a few times to play very good basketball more than they did.”

St. Al (2-3) committed 21 turnovers in the first half, but led 16-15 at halftime because Wesson (1-4) was just 5-for-26 from the field in the first two quarters.

(G) Callaway 67, WC 62

Carla Latham’s career-high 23 points was almost enough to lift Warren Central over the state’s top-ranked team.

But not quite.

The No. 1 Lady Chargers led early 28-8, then held on in the fourth quarter to beat WC (4-3), a team that has lost to the Nos. 1, 5 and 8 teams this season.

“We played scared in the first quarter,” WC coach Donny Fuller said. “I called time out and told the girls that if they wanted to play scared, we could get on the bus and head home.”

The Lady Vikes, who got 15 point from Cookie Johnson, fought back to within three, 65-62, late in the game. The inbounds pass was intercepted, though, and Callaway’s Juanita Ward hit two free throws to end the game.

Ward scored 23, while teammate Janie Mitchell, a Georgia Tech recruit, scored 30.