Southside coach looks for players before tourney

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 30, 2005

Southside coach Matthews Williams tossed out a challenge to his Lady Panthers following their 45-39 loss to the St. James Lady Trojans, Friday night at the Southside High gym.

With the Class 4A, Area 4 tournament less than two weeks away, Williams hopes to discover the mettle his team truly possesses.

“A game like this should make them play harder,” Williams said after the Lady Panthers were beaten on the boards and compacted on the court. “We’ll find out who our real players are now.”

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The Lady Panthers were outrebounded at nearly a 4-1 ratio and missed several open shots in the loss.

“We missed a lot of shots in the low post,” Williams said. “We had a lot of problems in the low post.

“Our rebounding needs a lot of work,” Williams added. “That’s all we can do is keep working hard.”

Along with their rebounding and shooting woes, the Lady Panthers also had trouble with their perimeter defense. Southside could not stop any one of the Lady Trojans from sinking a three-pointer.

Elizabeth Richards and Kelly Michelle Lewis each drained a three-pointer for St. James in the opening period. The only saving grace for the Lady Panthers was that St. James missed all of its other nine shots and led by just 6-4 after the opening quarter.

Such was the theme for the entire game. While St. James dominated the boards, the Lady Trojans’ shooting was little better than that of Southside.

Both teams opened the second period by missing their first three shots. Southside guard Katricia Brown sank a jumper from the right corner and Tiffany Anderson finished a 3-on-2 break with a running lay-up that got the Lady Panthers to within 10-8.

St. James, however, answered with a 5-0 run to stretch its lead back to seven. Katie Smith sank a pair of free throws and Lewis made 1-of-2 to up the Lady Trojans’ lead to 15-8. They held a 17-12 halftime advantage.

The Lady Panthers began heating up offensively in the third period. Trailing 23-14, Southside slowly crept back into the game. First, Kimberly Broadnax drained a jumper from the right wing. After LaShayla Lewis made 1-of-2 foul shots, Broadnax hit a running lay-up to bring Southside back to within four, 23-19.

But when the Lady Panthers were seemingly ready to rally, St. James had an answer. This time, the answer came in the form on a Richards three-pointer from the top of the key to push the Lady Trojans’ margin back to 26-19.

St. James maintained its seven-point lead, 30-23, after the third period.

The Lady Panthers trailed 45-33 with just over a minute to go, but were able to narrow the gap due to St. James shooting fouls. Kelsey Brown and Jessica Rush each sank lay-ups, and Brown added a pair of free throws to make it a 6-point game, but the Lady Panthers could get no closer.