The South Effingham girls basketball team got off to a great start. But the Lady Mustangs couldn’t keep it going through the second half.
The Burke County Lady Bears pulled away in the final two quarters, beating the Lady Mustangs 61-44 after outscoring them 30-18 in the second half.
“They made a run on us, and we couldn’t come back,” Lady Mustangs coach Stacey Womack said.
As an example, the Lady Mustangs missed both technical foul shots and then committed a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play.
“We played right into their hands,” Womack lamented, “which is out of control. That’s what they wanted us to do. We have to be more disciplined and not play into their gameplan.”
Ciara Knowles’ baseline drive with a minute to go in the first quarter tied the game at 8-8, the fourth deadlock of the game. Whitney Jones gave the Lady Mustangs their first lead, and Knowles stole the inbounds pass, with her layup stretching the lead to 12-8.
Whitney Jenkins knocked down a 3-pointer on an inbounds pass just before the buzzer. Through the first five minutes of the second quarter, the teams stayed within three points of each other. Then Jenkins hit another 3-pointer and scored on a bank shot for a 26-20 Burke cushion. Her bucket with 1:16 left in the half gave the Lady Bears a 30-22 lead.
The Lady Mustangs cut the deficit to five points, 31-26, on Jones’ short baseline jumper with only 3 seconds before intermission.
As well as the Lady Mustangs played in the first half, Womack thought it could have been better.
“I was upset with the first half because I felt we should have been ahead,” she said. “Had we gotten up on them early, it would have been a whole different ballgame. We still had a chance at halftime. We were nowhere near out of it. We just never gave ourselves a chance.”
The Lady Mustangs accomplished one goal — getting three players in double figures in scoring. Candice Kennedy, saddled with first-half foul trouble, finished with 12 points while Knowles had 11 points and Katie Durrence had 10. Jones had six points, Iesha Reese had three points and Katherine Perrin had two points.
Jenkins and Antonia Walker paced Burke County with 13 points apiece. Kenyatta Jones added 10 points for the Lady Bears.