Late last week, the South Pike girls were struggling and on a three-game losing streak. However, the Eagles closed out the week with a much-needed boost Friday when they fought hard and pulled out a 45-37 win over visiting Lawrence County.
“We have been trying to get them to be more aggressive all year and finally tonight they seemed to be more aggressive, attacking the rim, getting after it on defense and going after loose balls,” South Pike head coach Hilton Harrell said. “And that is the way that this team has to play to have a chance to play in this league we are in.”
It didn’t take long for the Eagles (7-8, 3-5) to establish their offense.
Three-pointers from Shayla Johnson were bookends of a 10-0 run which quickly gave the hosts a comfortable lead. But it did not last long as the Cougars began to chip away cutting the advantage down to just six at 13-7 heading into the second quarter.
That lead shrunk even further in the second as the Eagles had trouble slowing down the Cougars. Three-pointers from Bre’Myia Cameron and Jakaylin Brumfield were the lone field goals of the quarter for South Pike who took a 21-19 lead at the half.
The roles were reversed in the third as South Pike found its footing once again. Led by five points from Johnson and four from Shiniece Bell, the Eagles took a 35-27 lead heading into the fourth.
From there, the Eagles kept up with the efficient play securing the win.
“It is a really big win for us,” said Johnson who finished with a team-high 13 points. “We’ve been on a losing streak and this win gives us our groove back.”
South Pike suffer setback
With only a few games left in the regular season, the South Pike boys want to finish strong before heading into the playoffs.
However on Friday, they could not find a consistent enough offense, falling at home to Lawrence County 46-36.
“We never shot the ball well tonight,” said Harrell who also coaches the boys team. “It was like there was a lid on the rim. I thought that we played well defensively but offensively, it seemed like we weren’t there.”
The Eagles (11-7, 4-4) are normally reliant upon their perimeter shooting for the majority of their scoring, however it was the inside game that contributed early on. Post players Marquis Brown and Tamarion White represented the lone scoring in the first quarter for South Pike with a combined six points.
It was more of the same in the second quarter but both White and Brown elevated their games. White had six points and Brown five and combined with a ramped-up defensive effort, the Eagles regained the upper hand, taking at 20-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
A pair of 3-pointers form Yajari Jackson fueled South Pike in the third but the only other points scored in the period came via a make from Brown.
With the game tied at 28 heading into the fourth, Brown put the Eagles up with a quick basket, however, it would be the last time the hosts lead in the contest.
The offense struggled to make shots while the defense could not slow down a rejuvenated Lawrence County team as the visitors pulled away closing out the win.
Brown led the Eagles with 15 points.