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Blue Devils Boys, Girls Teams Earn Wins Over Strayhorn

By Jeff Eubanks

WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley High School basketball teams were able to get wins over the Strayhorn Mustangs Tuesday, Jan. 23 at W.V.H.S gymnasium. Both teams were able to control their games, despite a sluggish start by the boys.

    The Lady Devils certainly weren’t sluggish. An effective full court press allowed the Lady Devils to start out the game on a 27-1 run, which was finally ended at the 13 second mark by the Lady Mustangs. At the end of the first quarter Water Valley was up 29-3 and in complete control of the game. All five of Water Valley’s starters had at least four points each in the opening quarter.

    Coach Shayne Linzy, head coach of the Lady Devils, elected to start out the second quarter with a smaller lineup. The result was exactly the same. Senior Brittney Weekly was able to create great pressure all night, resulting in a team leading six steals. The Lady Devils were comfortably ahead at halftime 43-8. They were led in scoring by junior Shavontis Thomas with 13 points and senior Miranda Phillips who had nine points. Freshman Ashley Phillips also added eight points as well.

    “Our full court press worked real well tonight and was able to create a lot of turnovers for us,” Linzy said, as his team ensured 20 wins for the fifth straight season.

    A. Phillips continued where she had left off by scoring eight of the Lady Devils 14 points in the third quarter.  Junior Kesha Holmes contributed the other six points of the quarter, as Water Valley was leading 57-16 heading into the fourth quarter. The 41 point lead allowed Linzy to get many of his reserves some needed playing time in the latter part of the game. Freshman C.C. Phillips came off the bench to lead the team in rebounds with 12, and finished the game with nine points as the Lady Devils got the win over the Lady Mustangs 64-18.

    “Strayhorn is a young school with a bright future,” Linzy said about the contest.

    “I was able to get some of the younger girls playing time and was able to see what they were capable of and what they needed to work on,” the coach added.

    Ashley Phillips was the total package. She finished with a team-leading 17 points and eight assists to go with her six rebounds and five steals. Thomas was next in line for the Lady Devils with 13 points and six rebounds. Strayhorn was led in scoring by junior Hunter Godinez with eight points.

    The win tallied the Lady Devils record to 20-4 overall, with a perfect 4-0 record in the division.

    Earlier this season the Water Valley boy’s team defeated Strayhorn 100-23. With an early 10-0 start it looked like the Devils would hit the century mark again, but with four minutes left to go in the first the team began to play sluggishly and could never get anything really established throughout the rest of the first half.

    The Blue Devils went into halftime with a 25-16 lead. Juniors A.J. Folson and Benny Weekly were the leading scorers for Water Valley at the half, with Folson having nine points and Weekly adding six. Strayhorn was led by sophomore Cedric Hill with six points.

    “We came out earlier and weren’t very sharp, but we got better in the second half. I told the guys earlier today  that we were trying to get better tonight,” Water Valley boys head coach John Sherman reported.

    “We are trying to fine tune this engine before the playoffs. We had a case of engine funk in the first half,” Sherman said.

    The four minute mark was when the Devils went cold in the first quarter. This was also the same mark when the Devils exploded in the third. Turnovers created many scoring opportunities, as Water Valley went on a 19-4 run to close out the third quarter and take control of the game. Folson led the scoring charge of the third with eight points, while freshman Tavi Toles came in and hit two big three pointers. The Devils went into the final quarter with a 46-24 lead.

    Weekly stepped up and made huge plays for the Devils in the fourth. He scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, due in large part to the four straight steals that he was able to snag. The defensive pressure allowed the Devils to go on a 26-4 run to close out the game and get the win by the total score of 72-31.

    “We got in some passing lanes and was able to jump the ball to get some steals. We were able to get some chemistry going, then Folson had a big put back, then it just sparked us. We just got sparked,” said Sherman on his team’s second half play.

    Folson and Weekly were tied as the team’s leading scorers with 20 points each. Folson also had seven rebounds and five steals, while Weekly totaled five rebounds and seven steals. Tavi Toles proved once again to be another scoring option, as he had nine points coming off the bench. Strayhorn was led in scoring by junior Casey Herron and sophomore Terry Cummins with nine points each.

    The Blue Devils managed to outscore the Mustangs by 41 points, despite shooting 12-35 from the free throw line. The win puts the Blue Devils with a record of 12-10 overall and 2-2 in the division.

    Next action for the Blue Devils will be at division opponent Hatley Friday, Jan. 25. Both Water Valley teams play the following day, with the boys playing in the Saltillo Classic and the girls playing in the Robertson’s classic.

    At presstime Tuesday afternoon, the Blue Devils were hosting the Pink Grove Panthers

    A home stand was started after the weekend tournaments, as the Blue Devils host the Pine Grove Panthers Tuesday, Jan. 29. at 6 p.m. and then host North Pontotoc the following Friday.

    Please come out and show support for your Water Valley Blue Devils.

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