Tough shooting hurts Lady Bucs in Class AAA Finals

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — Bowling Green School’s Lady Buccaneers struggled with their shooting in a 52-41 loss to Leake Academy in the Class AAA Championship game Saturday at Brookhaven Academy.

“We struggled with our outside shots — our layups even and we didn’t shoot well at the free-throw line,” Bowling Green coach Charlie Domino said. “If you don’t do that, you’re not going to beat many people, and especially a team as good as Leake.”

Bowling Green connected on just 29.2 percent (14 for 48) of its field goals. The Lady Buccaneers hit only 13.6 percent of their 3-pointers (3 for 22) and hit just 41.7 percent of their free throws (10 for 24).

Despite the tough shooting, the Lady Buccaneers hung in the game with their defense.

“We did well defensively,” Domino said. “One of the things we didn’t do defensively was we didn’t do a great job of blocking out. That hurt us. They got some second-chance points, especially (Anna Evans).”

Bowling Green trailed 12-6 after one quarter.

The Lady Buccaneers cut it to 12-8 with 6:41 left in the second period when Katelin Junkins hit a field goal. Junkins finished with four points on 2-of-2 from the field, and pulled down four rebounds.

But Evans hit a layup right after, which began a 9-1 run for Leake. Victoria Sprayberry hit a jumper to put Leake ahead 16-8 later in the game.

Hollie Waskom, who recorded eight points, two boards, two assists and a steal, split from the free-throw line to cut the margin to seven.

But Sydni Tangle hit a 3-pointer and Leake added two more with 3:49 remaining for a 21-9 lead.

Ashley Foret, who led Bowling Green with 19 points to go with two rebounds, two assists and a steal, stopped the run with a jumper at the 2:53 mark.

Leake capped off the first half with a 6-2 run, and led 27-13 at halftime.

Leake took its biggest lead of the game at 16 when Sprayberry drove in for a layup. It was 29-13 at the 6:40 mark of the third quarter.

But Bowling Green continued to fight back. Domino said his team showed the heart of a champion.

“That’s one thing I’ve never had to worry about with these kids. Their effort is always there,” he said. “We did play hard. You can’t take anything from them. You’ve just got to know that when it’s our turn to step up, you’ve got to be accountable. That’s what I tell the kids. We’re all responsible for our own individual actions.”

Bowling Green cut the lead to 37-25 through three quarters, and continued to chip away.

Trailing 43-32 with 3:36 on the fourth-quarter clock, McKinley Seal hit for two points. In the game, Seal recorded seven points, a rebound, three assists and a steal.

Seal’s basket began an 8-3 run for Bowling Green.

Tangle was good on a pair of free throws and Seal hit a layup with about 2:10 left. Sprayberry split two free throws at the 1:54 mark, to make it 46-36. Bowling Green’s next four points came on a 3-pointer by Sydney Watson and a free throw from Waskom.

Bowling Green trailed 46-40 at the 1:13 mark of the fourth quarter, but that was the closest the Lady Bucs were able to get in the 52-41 loss.

The loss dropped Bowling Green’s record to 34-6.

Watson finished with three points, two boards and a steal.

Three players from Bowling Green made the all-tournament team, including Foret, Seal and Waskom.

Leake improved to 34-4.

The season for both teams continues this week in the MAIS overall tournament at Mississippi College. All of the class champions have a bye in the first round.

Bowling Green played yesterday against the Class AA No. 3 seed Claiborne Academy, in a game that was not complete by press time. The winner plays Jackson Academy this afternoon at 3:15.

The Lady Buccaneers advanced to Saturday’s Class AAA title game with a 44-30 win over Kirk Academy on Friday.

Foret scored 13 points to go with five rebounds and an assist.

McKinley Seal had 11 points on 5-of-9 from the field, five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Waskom posted nine points, four boards, two steals and an assist while Cailee Fruge recorded four points.

Watson and Junkins logged three points each. Watson had three rebounds and an assist while Junkins finished with four rebounds and an assist.

Hallie Robertson added a point in the win.

Bowling Green made it to that contest with a 66-22 win over Heritage Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 17.