Lady Flashes, Flashes bow out of South State|[02/23/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 23, 2007

Valiant fourth-quarter comeback falls short for St. Aloysius

PISGAH – Everything seemed to be going right for the St. Aloysius Lady Flashes. They were hitting shots, Thomastown was missing free throws and making turnovers, and they were finally inching closer on the scoreboard.

Then, reality set in. After outplaying Thomastown for most of the fourth quarter, St. Al was still behind by 10 points and the clock was getting closer and closer to zero.

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It was just that kind of night. Nothing they did seemed to be enough, and when the clock finally did hit zero, it also hit midnight on their season.

Brittany Henry scored 18 points, Maurica Greer had 15 and Joy Luckett 14 as Thomastown ended St. Al’s season with a 55-46 win in the first round of the Class 1A South State Tournament at Pisgah High School.

Sarah Kerut had a game-high 22 points and Bonney Neill had nine rebounds and five steals for St. Al, which finished the season with a 22-9 record. The win total was four less than last season, but this year’s squad advanced to the South State tournament for the first time in school history.

&#8220It’s been a fun year,” said St. Al guard Elizabeth Mazzanti, who scored 12 points on Thursday. &#8220We accomplished things we’ve never accomplished at this school, so I’m proud of our season.”

St. Al seemed to be running uphill all night against Thomastown (29-6). The Lady Bulldogs never trailed after starting the game with a 9-2 run, and used another 9-2 run at the start of the second quarter to open a 23-14 lead at halftime.

Thomastown’s zone defense swarmed to whoever was unlucky enough to have the ball for St. Al and made the Lady Flashes work for every shot they took. At one point in the second quarter, Thomastown’s Marion Zollicoffer had blocked more shots (five) than St. Al had made (four). Zollicoffer had seven points and seven blocks before fouling out with 1:31 left in the game.

&#8220They were just bigger than us and it was hard to even get a shot off,” Mazzanti said. &#8220We should’ve been used to it and handled it better than we did.”

Luckett hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter, and Thomastown blew the game open with a 12-3 run over the last four minutes of the period. Luckett scored eight of the Lady Bulldogs’ first 10 points in the second half, and they opened a 43-23 lead by the end of the third quarter.

The lead was insurmountable for the Lady Flashes although they did try their best to get back in it. As Thomastown faltered at the free throw line – it was just 4-for-11 in the fourth quarter, and 13-for-31 in the game – St. Al quietly went on a 12-3 run of its own to get within 11 points, 50-39, with about a minute and a half to play.

St. Al outscored Thomastown 23-12 in the fourth quarter, but never got closer than nine points. Still, coach Kyt Bonner said she was happy with the way her team went down swinging.

&#8220It’s reflective of the whole season,” Bonner said. &#8220We never gave up and fought to the end. That’s what got us here.”

In other playoff games Thursday night, the Hinds AHS girls are the lone area team left standing after a 51-47 victory over Kemper County in the Class 2A South State Tournament.

The Hinds AHS girls team is scheduled to play Newton tonight at Philadelphia High School. A win would send the Lady Bulldogs to the state tournament.

The Hinds AHS boys lost to Scott Central, 57-55.

In the Class 4A South State Girls Tournament, Pass Christian defeated Port Gibson 69-61.

Port Gibson’s boys were beaten by Laurel 49-46 to eliminate the Waves.

Steve McNair leads Mount Olive to win

Chase Smith’s 29 points wasn’t enough Thursday night as St. Aloysius fell to Mount Olive 62-58 in overtime at the Class 1A South State Tournament at Stringer.

Marsh Willis scored 11 points and John Robert Burnett netted 10 as the Division 7-1A champions ended their season with a record of 21 wins, 9 losses.

Steve McNair and Alfred McLaurin led four Mount Olive players in double figures with 16 points each. Jason McNair poured in 13 points and Nick Ducksworth scored 12.

After a sluggish first quarter that saw the Flashes score seven points, the team held a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The game went into overtime tied at 55, but the Flashes managed only three points in the extra period.