Tallulah takes two from St. Aloysius

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

With the loss of star guard Anna Beth Book, Tallulah Academy has had to adjust its game. On Friday night, playing against a Mississippi High School Activities Association team for the first time, the Lady Trojans faced another adjustment.

Tallulah used its superior quickness to beat St. Aloysius in transition, and in the process tallied a season high for points in a 73-50 victory.

“It was very different. They were a lot more physical than the teams we play,” said Tallulah freshman Allie-Kate Gossett, who had 22 points and seven assists.

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Most of Gossett’s assists went to junior forward Megan Givens, who had a career night with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

“That’s my highest game,” Givens said. “It’s unusual for me to score that much, but they were a real physical team.”

Tallulah coach Mike Sevier was glad to see his team play its best game since the loss of Book, who suffered a leg injury.

“We lost her for the season when a girl fell on her leg at Prairie View. We had a hard time adjusting without her, but tonight was the best game we’ve played since she’s been out,” Sevier said. “We kind of clicked tonight. We had good shot selection and good ball movement.”

The Lady Trojans (18-3) shot nearly 60 percent from the floor, making 30 of 53 shots. The Lady Flashes (2-10), meanwhile, went just 14-for-59 from the field.

Tallulah led 48-24 midway through the third quarter when St. Al’s Carlye Smith started to rally her team. She reeled off 11 straight points to pull St. Al to within 53-39.

The Lady Flashes had a couple of chances to get within 12 early in the fourth quarter, but were foiled by turnovers. They totaled 23 for the game.

Givens answered for the Lady Trojans with five baskets in the lane to push the lead back over 20 points.

Smith ended with 22 points for St. Al. Tori Hines had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Sara Howington had 10 points and eight boards.

(B) Tallulah 49,

St. Aloysius 43

Tallulah Academy keeps finding a way to win.

The Trojans went on a game-ending 12-2 run over the last three minutes to beat the Flashes. It was Tallulah’s fifth win in a row, and ninth in 11 games, and it improved to 12-8 overall.

“This was a big win for us,” Trojans coach John Weaver said. “We have a lot of fight. This was our third game this week and we answered the call.”

Tallulah’s J.R. Fortenberry hit a free throw at the 2:16 mark, and 20 seconds later Jes Shivers knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 41. Winston Hayes gave St. Al its last lead at 43-41, but Shivers tied it again on a pair of free throws with 1:09 left.

A turnover by the Flashes gave Tallulah a chance to reclaim the lead. Tandon Baker hit a layup and drew the foul for a three-point play to put the Trojans ahead to stay at 46-43 with 56 seconds left.

The Flashes (3-9) were then called for a double dribble, their 17th turnover of the game, ending their last chance to draw even.

St. Al coach Richard Hodges said his team struggled without point guard Ford Biedenharn and forward Sage Lewis. Biedenharn was out with a shoulder injury, while Lewis was on a family vacation to Pasadena, Calif., to watch the BCS championship game.

The Flashes shot poorly, making just 16 of 52 shots (31 percent). Luke Burnett scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to rally St. Al from a seven-point deficit to its 41-37 lead.

Sean Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds for St. Al. Shivers finished with 13 points and Fortenberry had 12 for Tallulah.

Contact Jeff Byrd at jbyrd@vicksburgpost.com