Thomas’ big night sinks Piney Woods

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A flurry of fast breaks led to a career night for Ann Garrison Thomas, and an easy win for St. Aloysius.

Thomas scored 40 points — including 26 in the second half, and most of them in transition — as St. Al pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Piney Woods 67-43 on Tuesday night.

“We kept getting steals and getting layups and making them,” Thomas said. “It feels great. Now I’ve just got to feed off that and try to get more.”

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Allie Willis added 11 points for the Lady Flashes (5-9, 2-2 Division 7-1A), who outscored Piney Woods 20-2 in the fourth quarter. The surge allowed St. Al, which led by six points entering the period, to turn the game into a rout. They kept their foot on the gas as the game spiraled out of control, not wanting to slack off and lose the momentum, coach Cookie Johnson said.

“I didn’t want to let up at all. We had a big lead, but playing at a fast pace helped a lot,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to slow them down and mess anything up.”

St. Al won its second consecutive game and will host division leader Hinds AHS on Friday.

Raven Thompson scored 16 points to lead Piney Woods (3-9, 1-2), and Verjell Bowleg had 12.

(B) Piney Woods 90, St. Aloysius 33

After one quarter Tuesday, St. Al was still within shouting distance of mighty Piney Woods.

After two quarters, the Flashes couldn’t have been heard with a megaphone.

Phillip Jones finished with 35 points and nine rebounds, Kenneth Taylor had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Piney Woods sprinted away from St. Al in the second and third quarters to win big.

Kameron Reed led St. Al with nine points and five rebounds.

Last year’s Class 2A champions led by seven points after the first quarter, then outscored St. Al 57-19 in the middle periods. The Tornadoes (5-6, 2-0 Division 7-1A) held St. Al (1-13, 0-5) to just nine field goals in the first three quarters — roughly the number of dunks they themselves had — and forced 30 turnovers in the same span.

“Talent-wise, they were pretty good,” St. Al coach Delvin Thompson said. “We killed ourselves with our own mistakes, too. These kids are young, they’re learning. They’ve got some talented players, but that’s not what beat us.”

Despite the lopsided final score, Thompson said he was happy with his team’s effort. The Flashes kept playing hard even as the game got out of hand, and they had to deal with Piney Woods’ starters most of the way. Jones, who went 15-for-27 from the field, didn’t exit until only 4½ minutes were left. Taylor went to the bench about a minute later.

“They didn’t expect us to come out playing like that. They expected us to fold up,” Thompson said. “That’s what I’m trying to instill in these players, is if they keep playing hard it’ll happen. First, we’ve got to play hard, then we’ve got to learn how to play while we’re playing hard. If we do that, good things will happen.”