Pressure defense allowed Water Valley’s high school basketball teams to get wins over division opponent Hamilton, Friday, Jan. 18. at W.V.H.S. gymnasium.
A constant apply of pressure by the Lady Devils forced the Lady Lions to turn the ball over much of the first half. The Lady Devils capitalized on its opponents mistakes by jumping out to an early 24-5 lead in the first quarter and never looking back from there. Senior Miranda Phillips and junior Shavontis Thomas led the scoring charge for the Devils, as they had their team in great position with a 40-16 first half lead. Phillips led all scorers at the half with 17 points and Thomas added nine.
“I thought the girls came out and focused on doing the little things right in the first half,” said Shayne Linzy, head coach of the Lady Devils.
“Our press was effective in the first quarter which helped us get a lot of layups, then we switched to a man to man defense in the second. As we go deeper into the season and hopefully into the playoffs we’re going to have to be able to play different defenses and be effective with them,” the coach continued.
Thomas picked up where she had left off in the first half by scoring 13 of the Devils 20 points in the third quarter. Water Valley outscored Hamilton 31-9 in the second half making the final score 71-25. Thomas led all scorers with 22 points, while Phillips finished with 19 points and six steals. Senior Brittney Weekly, along with her stellar defensive pressure, finished with nine points as well. Junior Jessica Thompson led the Lady Lions in scoring with 10 points.
“We had a chance to get a lot of young girls into the game. We were able to get them in early in the game and in a division game. Which is important because, the further we go into the season the more likely the chance that we will run into foul trouble and need these girls to come off the bench and contribute.”
The Lady Devils improved their record to 18-4 overall and 4-0 in the division with their win over the Hamilton Lady Lions.
Water Valley’s boys team came out sloppy but, Coach John Sherman quickly got his team under control. The Blue Devils were down 3-2 with six minutes to go in the first quarter, then went on a 14-2 run and never slowed down. Constant pressure by junior Corey Carr forced Hamilton to turn the ball over much of the first quarter as the Devils jumped out to 17-6 lead.
The second quarter resembled much of the first. Pressure by Carr and junior Benny Weekly created turnovers and allowed the Devils to score 27 points in the second quarter. Senior A.J. Folson led all scorers at halftime with 19 points, while Carr had seven points and Weekly added eight. The Devils went into halftime up 44-12.
“The emphasis tonight was good defense and fundamentals. We applied some pressure and were able to create some turnovers. The guys saw that what we were doing was working and was just able to feed off that,” says Coach John Sherman, head coach of the Water Valley boys’ basketball team.
With such a big lead at halftime Coach Sherman was able to slow down the pace of the game. The lead allowed for Sherman to get some of his reserves playing time. Sophomore Davidtron Logan came in and scored five points in the fourth as the Blue Devils got the win 65-34.
Folson led all scorers with 21 points and five rebounds. Weekly was equally impressive as he finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Both were able to snag four steals due in large part to the pressure that Carr applied to Hamilton’s senior Diante Logan. Logan was the Lions leading scorer coming into the game but, managed to score only eight points against the Devils. The Lions were led in scoring by sophomore Martin Keaton with 10 points. The Blue Devils improved their record to 11-9 overall and 2-2 in the division with the win.
Water Valley’s next action is at J.Z George Saturday, Jan. 19. at 4:30 p.m. The Blue Devils will host the Strayhorn Mustangs for their next home game Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. Please come out and support your Water Valley Blue Devils.