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Evans falls in tournament opener

Posted: November 26, 2014 - 12:10am
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Evans' Samantha Richey drives past Veterans High School's Khalya Owens.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Evans' Samantha Richey drives past Veterans High School's Khalya Owens.

Unable to convert open looks early, the Evans Lady Knights fell behind and had to play catch-up the rest of the way in the opening game of Greenbrier High School’s Queens of the Court tournament Friday afternoon.

The Lady Knights couldn’t catch the Region 2-AAAA Veterans High Lady Warhawks, however, losing 59-35.

“They got outhustled a little bit early on and I think that’s a factor that we’re young,” said Evans’ coach Ryan Morningstar, who starts two freshmen. “Our inexperience showed a little bit more than it did in our first game.”

Senior Elyssa Melton hit one of the team’s 11 3-pointers with 3:50 left in the first period, bringing the Lady Knights within 10-7. The Lady Warhawks then hit a 3-pointer and three fast-break baskets the rest of the period to take a 19-7 lead.

Morningstar said junior McKenna Lawrence and Melton know they have to assume scoring roles on the team, and Lawrence did just that in the second period. She began the second period draining a 3-pointer and would hit three more before halftime. The only problem was she was the only scorer for the Lady Knights as they were outscored 15-12, trailing 34-19 at the break.

Lawrence was the game’s high scorer with 20 points, finishing with six treys. Melton added eight points and freshman Lexi Jeffcoat chipped in with seven.

Morningstar isn’t worried about the growing pains Jeffcoat and fellow freshman Kiyana Nelson will have to go through this year.

“The jump from middle school to high school varsity hit’em right in the face,” Morningstar said. “They’re good kids, they’re going to do what we ask them and work hard.”

With a chance to get back in the game, the Lady Knights were outscored 10-4 in the third period and the Lady Warhawks rolled from there. They had 10 players in the scoring column led by Temia Sapp’s team-high 14 points.

Morningstar knows the team has a long way to go.

“We’re a close team early on as far as our cameraderie, so I think that these girls will definitely bounce back,” said Morningstar. “We definitely realize what we’ve got to get better at.”

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