Lady Blue Devils drop fifth game in seven outings
By Billy Woods WM School District
Losers of 4 of her team’s last 6 games, Lady Devils head coach Shelia Burns promised to change up the starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game against Jonesboro at Lehr Arena. Burns inserted three new starters and the result was a 10-0 hole in the first quarter. After finally catching up to and passing Jonesboro in the final minute of the game, the Lady Devils lost their fifth in the last seven games, 39-35 to the Lady Hurricane. “This was tough because we battled so hard to get back in the game,” said Burns, whose team falls to 15-9 overall and 5-6 in the 7A/6A-East Conference. “We just could not execute in the end.” After trailing the Hurricane by as much as 21-8 in the second quarter, the Lady Devils sliced the deficit to just 23-17 at halftime. West Memphis finally gained its first lead of the game on the strength of a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter. The Lady Devils led 35-33 with 57 seconds left in the game after Anquanetta Chatt was trapped 30 feet from the basket and she attempted to pass to teammate Sable Greer, who grabbed the errant lob and made a move to the basket. Greer found an open Amesha Brown, who deposited the layup. But Jonesboro’s leading scorer, Starr Taylor, who only had two points on the night, got her only scores when she drained two clutch free throws to tie the game 35-35 with 49.8 seconds to play. The Lady Devils were set to go for the final shot of the game, but turned it over as Kia Perry of Jonesboro stole the ball in the backcourt and made a layup with 26 seconds to play for a 37-35 lead for the visitors. West Memphis had three shots to tie the game in the final 26 seconds, but suffered one turnover and three missed shots. Jonesboro wrapped it up when Matte Curtis hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds to play. “We had to try something different with the lineup tonight,” said Burns. “We’re not winning right now and I feel like we’ve got nothing to lose. I thought our juniors, Nikki Higgs and Taylor Johnson, played awesome and Ty Bullins gave us a little lift. “We’ve got to win one of our next two 7A games to qualify for the state tournament. We’re still in it. But we’ve got to clean it up and execute.” Chatt led all scorers with 15 points while Brown added 10 and Johnson hit 5. Jonesboro got 12 points from Perry and 10 from Amber Hatchett. The Lady Devils play at Little Rock Central on Friday night.