Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Southaven girls win Holiday Hoops Invitational over St. Benedict

 from Commercial Appeal

Not a lot of style points were attached, but Southaven did what it wanted to do in capturing the Holiday Hoops Invitational girls title with a 50-43 decision over host St. Benedict on Saturday night.

The Chargers (14-1), ranked No. 1 in The Commercial Appeal Dandy Dozen, got 14 points from tournament MVP and Tennessee-Chattanooga signee Jasmine Joyner. Ten came in the first half, including back-to-back baskets that sparked a 10-0 second-quarter run that led to a 28-18 halftime lead.

Joyner ended her team's 0-for-8 third-quarter shooting slump with a putback after the Eagles (9-5) had chipped away and made it a 28-25 game on a 3-pointer by senior Paige Williams. Then senior Joanna Smith, a Buffalo signee who led Southaven with 17 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to restore some semblance of order, giving her team a 38-31 lead going into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, sub Tamara Staples provided a key boost with five points.

"Coach tells us to just keep doing what we're doing, and the shots will fall," Smith said.

Southaven coach Don Baldwin said that wasn't always easy against an SBA team that, save for freshman Taylor Barnes, couldn't match Southaven's athleticism. But it made up for much of the gap with hustle.

"That's a well-coached team that plays hard, and tonight we were fortunate," said Baldwin, whose team played the tournament without its leading scorer, injured junior guard A'Queen Hayes. "We've got to work on a lot of the silly turnovers we gave up, and work on getting ourselves set before we shoot. A lot of times tonight we weren't doing that."

SBA got no closer than seven down the stretch but never went away. Theresa Stoddard had 10 points, Barnes nine and Nicole Ferris and Madison Luckett eight apiece. But after shooting 40 percent from 3-point range in Friday's blowout of Lewisburg, SBA was 4 of 24 on Saturday.

"I'm so proud of my kids for playing their hearts out against a team that, my goodness, has size and athletes," SBA coach Don Sebren said. "But we just couldn't buy a bucket from outside when we needed it."

In the Dragon Fire Girls Invitational title game, Columbia Central used a second quarter burst to pull away from Obion County and win 63-28. Host Collierville defeated Houston 40-30 to take third place.

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