By REID TUCKER
Paxton’s girls and boys basketball teams rolled on their counterparts from Laurel Hill in a show of the Bobcats’ continued successes and the Hoboes’ persistent early-season woes.
The Lady Cats (7-2, 5-0) were up by just four points at 27-23 by halftime on Friday, Dec. 16, but they steadily pulled in the latter periods to defeat the Lady Hoboes (5-5, 1-4). It was not a close affair, as Paxton, led in all areas by Alyssa Dupree, who scored 22 points, finished off their longstanding rivals by a final score of 73-52. Laurel Hill’s scoring was primarily handled by two players, as only Maeson Piper and La’Quetta Williams got in double digits, with 17 points and 14 points, respectively, to their credits.
Laurel Hill was close behind Paxton through the half, trailing just 10-4 at the end of the first quarter. Though both teams took some time to warm up their long arm, Laurel Hill took advantage of its players’ size as Piper put up 11 points in the first half and the defense afforded by her team mate Williams kept Paxton on its toes. However, Laurel Hill’s greatest shortcoming in the half was coming up short at the stripe, as the team went 5-for-15 in free-throws.
All was not well with Paxton’s ranks either, as they already began to show signs of foul trouble, and by the end of the first half three players, Dupree, Caylee Nelson and Maegan Newborn picked up three fouls apiece. Paxton coach Steve Williams said this and a reluctance to go head-to-head in the paint with Laurel Hill’s bigger players combined for some slow shooting that allowed the Lady Hoboes to gain closer and closer on Paxton’s lead.
He heaped praise on some of his backup players, most notably Quinn Williams and Rebecca Ferreira, for making critical 3-point baskets while their team mates saw more bench-time than usual.
“We missed way too many outside shots, and that gave [Laurel Hill] a chance to get in a transition,” Williams said. “That put us out of our rhythm and we got in foul trouble. We had people step up though. I thought Quinn’s basket at the end of the half was huge, and Rebecca played well and hit a couple shots in there that were really big.”
Paxton, led by Dupree, who scored 13 of her 22 points in the second half, were keener to attack the inside more, which widened the gulf between the home team and the Lady Hoboes. Laurel Hill got to within a basket of Paxton at 29-27 but Newborn and Dupree shone as the Lady Cats converted some critical turnovers into breakaway layup runs to send Paxton on a 10-0 streak. Ferreira got off one more 3 before the end of the quarter to put Paxton up 48-32.
After the Lady Cats’ spree in the third quarter, Laurel Hill got no nearer than 11 points away with 3:37 left to play in the game. However, Dupree used the remaining time to find her range, draining 2-pointers and F-Ts alike, plus a 3, to make it 71-51 with only 20 seconds remaining. Two more trips to the charity stripe from her and 14 seconds later and Paxton took the 21-point win….
Read the full story in the Dec. 22, 2011 edition of the Herald Breeze.