West Memphis hits road on Tuesday
By Billy Woods WM School District
Armed with a potent inside game, the trick for the West Memphis Lady Devils is to keep both LaShala Saine and Amesha Brown in the game. Once again both West Memphis bigs were in foul trouble last Friday night at Lehr Arena, but the Lady Devils were able to hang on for a 48-36 victory over Marion. Saine, who is more of a factor on defense with her shot blocking, presence and rebounding, and Brown, who is an aggressive offensive threat, both fouled out. But as has been the case often this season, senior guard Sable Greer, who hit a game-high 17 points, provided enough scoring punch to offset the absences of the big girls. “It was not a smooth effort by our girls tonight,” said West Memphis head coach Shelia Burns. “But we got some big plays when we needed it. Sable made several as she always does, but we also got some elsewhere.” That elsewhere came from senior Niyha Townsend, who hit two big three-pointers in the second half. Townsend’s first three came with 26 seconds let in the third quarter to give the Lady Devils (11-3 overall, 1-0 7A/6A-East) a 33-26 lead and her second was even bigger. After Marion had sliced what once was a 10-point West Memphis cushion down to 37-31, Townsend let her fly from beyond the arc and it found nothing but nylon with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter to push the home squad back to a nine-point lead. “That’s something she’s not known for,” Burns said of Townsend. “The scouting report on her would be to sag off her and that’s what Marion did. But she stepped up there and hit two big three-pointers for us. It was huge.” Another lesser-known excelled down the stretch in Nikki Higgs, who hit three of four free throws in the final minute-and-a-half. Marion (7-7, 0-1) was still within striking distance, trailing 44-36 with 107 to play before Higgs’ final two free throws with 22.3 seconds to play. The Lady Devils never trailed in the game and, as expected, enjoyed a comfortable edge on the boards, outrebounding Marion 33-24. But the hosts committed 18 turnovers and had to battle with Saine and Brown saddled on the bench for a good portion of the game. The West Memphis twin towers combined for only four points on the night. Saine fouled out with 2:53 to play in the fourth quarter and Brown was T’d up for her fifth foul with 1:26 to play. “Honestly, we’re struggling inside right now,” said Burns. “We were feeding the post, but we were not converting. Until our post girls can score consistently we’re not going to be what we need to be. Teams may not fear our inside game and that could spell trouble for us down the road.” The Lady Devils played solid defense, however, getting a hand in the faces of Marion shooters, forcing the visitors to make only 13 of 43 shots. for a .302 percentage. There were no other double-figure scorers for West Memphis other than Greer. But Townsend hit for eight points while Anquanetta Chatt added seven and junior Ty Bullins hit six. Marion got 10 points from Tei Boston while Kennedi Boykins added eight and Mya McCray hit five. The Lady Devils hit the road for the first time in conference play Tuesday night at Searcy.