St. Aloysius drops pair to Puckett|[02/09/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2008

PUCKETT — The St. Aloysius Lady Flashes played a classic bookend game Friday night. They were good in the first and fourth quarters. In between, though, was two periods of struggles.

Puckett hit five 3-pointers during a 26-point second quarter, then held St. Al to two points over the first 7 minutes and 40 seconds of the third. The surge helped the Lady Wolves overcome a nine-point deficit and beat St. Al 66-51 in the regular-season finale for both teams.

St. Al will next play in the Division 7-1A tournament on Monday or Tuesday. Game times and opponents were to be settled at a coaches’ meeting this morning.

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“I don’t know if they were tired or what. I honestly don’t know. We had them,” St. Al coach Carolyn Bradley said. “We talked about some things at halftime. But they had so much pressure we couldn’t get our offense set up.”

Courtney Rhodes hit four 3-pointers to lead Puckett (9-13, 9-5 Division 7-1A) with 16 points. Skyla Meek added 10 points, six assists and five steals. Elizabeth Mazzanti had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Tori Hines added 20 points and 10 rebounds for St. Al, which hurt its chances with an abysmal showing at the free throw line.

St. Al was just 16-for-36 at the line in the game, and 9-for-23 in the second half when it was trying to overcome an 18-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

“We have been practicing our free throws at practice. But we just couldn’t capitalize on our chances tonight,” Bradley said.

St. Al started the game off well. After Puckett took a quick 4-0 lead 34 seconds into the game, the Lady Flashes went on a 12-0 run and led 16-7 after one quarter. Then Puckett heated up from the outside, and things fell apart for St. Al.

Rhodes hit three 3-pointers during the second quarter, including one in a 10-0 run that gave Puckett the lead for good. St. Al had five turnovers in the first two minutes of the period, and went into halftime trailing 33-28.

“(Rhodes) is one of the best shooters in our district when she’s on,” Puckett coach Curt Crain said. “She’s been struggling lately, but she finally found her range and hit some shots for us.”

In the third quarter, the Lady Flashes’ offense disappeared. Hines hit a basket early in the quarter, then her team didn’t score again until hitting four free throws in the last 20 seconds. Puckett was able to pull away, opening a 52-34 lead by the end of the third.

The Lady Flashes pulled it back together in the fourth and actually outscored Puckett 17-14. The poor free throw shooting kept them from making a serious push, though.

(B) Puckett 76, St. Al 47

Puckett used a suffocating press to jump out to a 16-point lead by the end of the first quarter, then cruised to an easy win over short-handed St. Al.

Jonathan Cameron led Puckett (13-5, 11-3) with 20 points and 17 rebounds, Bobby Williams scored 16 points, and Matthew Willis had 11 points, six assists and five steals. Alex Lanier had 26 points 10 rebounds for St. Al, which played most of the game without two regular starters. Point guard Jeremy Falls broke his nose last week. Shooting guard Chip Donald, suffering from the flu, started but played only about a quarter before heading to the bench for good.

By then, Puckett was already in control anyway. The Wolves hit 11 of 19 shots in the first quarter and led 26-10 by the end of it. They stretched the lead to 41-18 by halftime and cruised in the second half. Puckett held St. Al to 32 percent shooting for the game and outrebounded the Flashes 46-23.

CM&I 71, Porters Chapel 50

Porters Chapel hung in well for a while against CM&I Friday night in the semifinals of their district tournament, but CM&I finished too strong for the Eagles.

Matt Cranfield scored 16 points and Jacob Rachal added 11 in the Eagles’ defeat.

Porters Chapel is scheduled to play in the third-place game today at 2:30 p.m. at Central Hinds in Raymond. Seedings for the upcoming South State tournament are at stake today.

Porters Chapel trailed 18-16 at the end of the first quarter, but managed only seven points in the second quarter.