PARKERS CHAPEL – Parkers Chapel opened conference play Tuesday with a hard-fought 52-42 win over Gurdon. Bella Frisby scored 18 points and Krista Rivers grabbed 15 rebounds as the Lady Trojans improved to 5-3 overall on the season.
Parkers Chapel built a 26-4 lead to start the game and then held on through a physical, bloody second half. The Lady Go-Devils scored 12 unanswered points as the Lady Trojans struggled through a six-minute scoring drought. Still, PC’s lead never dipped below double-digits after intermission.
“Basketball is a game of runs. You’ll have a team that’ll go through runs. I kept telling the girls, withstand that run and continue to score. I said from this point on, we just tie the last three quarters, we win the ball game. I thought we did a good job,” said Parkers Chapel coach Justin Welch. “Anytime a team gets in a corner like they do, they’re going to fight until the very end. I thought we did a good job of taking care of the basketball. I’m very pleased with how we came ready to play tonight.”
The Lady Trojans led 15-2 after one quarter. Makenzie Morgan hit a 3-pointer and had a three-point play. Sophomore Loralei Barnes came off the bench for a pair of buckets in the opening quarter. The lead swelled to 26-4 on a pair of free throws by Bella Goodwin with 2:38 left in the second quarter.
“I’ve been challenging these girls all the time to get a good start, get a good start. We’ve been struggling with that on some of our non-conference games. Tonight, they came out laser focused and ready to play,” Welch said. “We executed the game plan. We frustrated them. We did some things different than what we’d been doing. I knew they had film on us, so we changed it up on them. Sometimes that will allow you to get a little lead until they make an adjustment. I thought that’s kind of what happened as the game went on. I thought our girls did a good job of finishing.”
Gurdon started imposing its superior size in the paint and upped the tempo with fullcourt pressure. The Lady Go-Devils cut the lead to 26-16 before Barnes drained a 3-pointer off a kick-out from Frisby with 5:03 left in the third. Frisby recorded a three-point play as PC settled for a 36-22 advantage going into the fourth.
Barnes provided a spark off the bench with nine points.
“She had a nice little move down there with the reverse against the shot blocker. I thought that was good,” said Welch. “I kind of changed up with the rotation just to help us with some things. She was the first one to get the opportunity and she took advantage of it.”
The Lady Trojans built a 16-point lead in the fourth and led by 15 two other times. Gurdon pulled to within 11 twice and got as close as the final 10-point margin. Frisby scored the final six points for PC, hitting 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute.
Morgan finished with 12 points, including three fast-break buckets in the second half. Kallie Martin scored eight with eight blocked shots. Rivers didn’t score a field goal but her presence was felt on the boards, including 10 first-half rebounds.
“I’ve been talking to her since last week about how important those rebounds were. I could tell she was determined, and it showed out there in the game. She was a beast on the boards,” said Welch.
Brea Biley led Gurdon with 14 points. Naudia Caldwell and Camelia Ashford each chipped in with eight.
“I thought we had a lot of energy with the girls coming off the bench,” said Welch. “Overall, the team energy was great tonight. I’m always happy to see that.”
STRONG - The Lady Pirates improved to 2-0 in league play and spoiled Strong's 1A 8 opener Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs slipped to 1-2 on the season.
Kennedi Dixon led Strong with 23 points. Camiria Cole scored 17 and Tiesha Rodgers finished with nine.