Water Valley’s high school basketball teams saw a lot of action between January 29 and February 1. The Lady Blue Devils posted a perfect 3-0 record, while the boys went 2-1 in a couple of nail biters.
The Blue Devils hosted the Pine Grove Panthers Tuesday, Jan. 29 at W.V.H.S gymnasium. Both teams were able to obtain victories, despite a close ending by the boys’ team.
The Lady Blue Devils, thanks in part to an effective press, jumped out to a 14-2 run to open up the first six minutes of the game. The first quarter ended with the Lady Devils leading 16-6.
The Lady Panthers made some adjustments in the second quarter that allowed them to slow the game down and effectively break the press that was applied by the Lady Devils. The Lady Panthers outscored the Lady Devils 13-9 in the second quarter, but was not enough as Water Valley went into halftime leading 25-19.
Junior Shavontis Thomas led all scorers at the half with 11 points. Freshman Ashley Phillips also had seven. Pine Grove was led in scoring by junior Candace Davis with eight points.
The Lady Blue Devils got red hot in the third quarter. Turnovers created by senior Britnney Weekly allowed the Lady Blue Devils to outscore the Lady Panthers 20-8 in the third quarter. Senior Keke Fondon and A. Phillips led the scoring charge for the Devils. Fondon scored eight and Phillips added six.
Water Valley went into the final quarter up 45-27. The Lady Devils held the lead, never getting below 11 points, and finished with a final score of 57-44.
All five of the Lady Blue Devils starters finished with at least eight points. Thomas led the team in scoring with 15 points. A. Phillips scored 14 and Fondon finished with nine. Weekly and Miranda Phillips each had eight. Pine Grove’s junior Amber Johnson led all scorers with 19 points. Davis totaled 10 points.
The win improved the Lady Blue Devils record to 22-4.
The boys’ team wasn’t able to get off to the quick start that the girls had achieved. Pine Grove’s man-to-man defense was the perfect match for the Blue Devils offense. The Blue Devils could not get in any type of rhythm on offense in the first half. The team’s leading scorer, junior A.J. Folson, was forced to sit out much of the first half as he picked up two fouls early. The Blue Devils went into halftime trailing 12-14.
Pine Grove’s senior Ethan Reece led all scorers at the half with seven points. Water Valley was led by junior Benny Weekly with five points. Folson scored four in the limited time that he played.
“We rarely see man to man defense. That’s why we had trouble scoring. Defensively, we did everything we could do. We matched them and their toughness,” said Coach John Sherman, head coach for the Blue Devils.
With Folson back in, the Blue Devils were able to outscore the Panthers 15-5 in the third quarter. Folson was able to score nine and Weekly added four. The Blue Devils went into the fourth quarter up 27-21.
The Blue Devils were up 37-34 with 12 seconds to go in the fourth. Pine Grove’s Reece had the ball and was dancing behind the three point line. With six seconds left he hit a three pointer and was also fouled in the process, allowing for a possible four point play. Reece missed the free throw to put his team ahead. At the end of regulation the score was tied 37-37.
The Blue Devils were able to break away from the Panthers’ claws in overtime. Weekly and freshman Tavi Toles combined for 12 points as the Blue Devils were able to get the victory 52-47.
Reece led all scorers with 23 points. Folson led the Blue Devils in scoring with 18 points and Weekly added 16 points and five rebounds. Toles scored 10 points and led the team in rebounds with six. He also hit clutch free throws coming down the stretch, going 7-10 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and overtime. Senior Jonathan Nevol had five rebounds and two steals to go along with the stellar defense that he put up on Pine Grove’s big men.
“They did everything I asked them to do tonight. I could not be anymore proud of them win or lose. They really stepped it up and played with great effort,” Sherman continued
The win improved the boys’ record to 13-11.
The Blue Devil basketball team traveled to Hatley Thursday, Jan. 31 to play a makeup game that had been canceled. Both teams were able to get very convincing wins.
The Lady Blue Devils defeated the Lady Tigers 68-25. Fondon and M. Phillips led the scoring charge for the Lady Blue Devils. Fondon finished with 17 points and M. Phillips totaled 12. Freshman C.C. Phillips came in and contributed quality playing time as she had 10 points. The win improved the Lady Blue Devils record to 23-4. The win also crowned the Lady Blue Devils region two champs and guaranteed them a number one seed in the upcoming division tournament.
The Blue Devils handled their counterpart with ease as well. They were able to defeat the Tigers 63-35. Folson led all scorers with 23 points. Freshman Erick Buckley added 10 points. The win improved the Blue Devils record to 14-11.
Water Valley hosted the North Pontotoc Vikings Friday, Feb. 1 at W.V.H.S. gymnasium. The girls were able to pull out a win, while the boys lost by one in a game that went to the wire.
The Lady Vikings came out ready to go toe to toe with the Lady Blue Devils. The Lady Vikings came into the game with a 16-7 record and an 11 game winning streak on the line, with their last loss being to the Lady Blue Devils.
The Lady Blue Devils were able to jump out to an early lead, but was not able to distance themselves from their opponent early on. The Lady Blue Devils went into the second quarter up 24-17.
Water Valley had a balanced scoring attack in the first. Weekly, once again with great defensive pressure, scored seven points. M. Phillips and Thomas each had six points. A. Phillips capped it off with five points. The Lady Vikings were led in scoring by senior Anna Lisa Powell. She had 15 of her team’s 17 first quarter points.
The Lady Blue Devils were able to keep the pace and distance themselves from the Lady Vikings in the second quarter. The Lady Devils outscored the Lady Vikings 13-7 in the second quarter to take a 37-24 lead into halftime.
Powell led all scorers at the half with 19 points. Weekly led the Lady Blue Devils with 11 points. Thomas added nine points and M. Phillips had eight.
“This is the best we have played since Christmas. We lost sight of Powell a couple times, but was able to shut down everybody else,” says Shayne Linzy, head coach of the Lady Blue Devils.
M. Phillips scored 10 of the Lady Blue Devils 20 points in the second half, as the Lady Devils were able to obtain the win 57-42.
Powell was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points. M. Phillips led the Lady Blue Devils in scoring with 18 points and added three rebounds. Thomas finished with 13 points and a team leading 12 rebounds. Weekly scored 14 points and had five steals to show for her great defensive pressure. A. Phillips totaled eight points and dished out four assists. Fondon was shutout, but managed to snag five rebounds.
“It says a lot about our team for Keke not to score and us still win convincingly. When one or two girls are off, I am fortunate enough to have other girls that can step in and score,” Linzy said
“I felt like we played really good for four quarters,” the coach continued.
The win improved the Lady Blue Devils record to 24-4.
To say that the boy’s game was close is an understatement. It was EXTREMELY close. Neither team was able to finish a quarter up by more than one point. In fact the biggest lead by either team was only eight points.
Four of the Blue Devils starting five scored in the first quarter with Folson leading the way with six points. The balanced scoring attack gave the Blue Devils a 16-15 lead after the first quarter.
The pace slowed in the second quarter for both teams. Neither team was able to get anything going offensively as the first half ended with the Blue Devils leading 23-22.
Folson led all scorers at the half with 10 points. Toles added eight. North Pontotoc was led by Chaz Carrillo and Weston Mounce with five points each.
“They (North Pontotoc) are typically a strong third quarter team. From what I have heard and seen they come out and put teams away in the third. I thought we were able to get the jump on them tonight,” Sherman said of his team’s effort.
The Blue Devils were able to get the jump on the Vikings in the third. The Devils were up 34-26 with a little under four minutes to play when it all came undone.
A bizarre and questionable on the floor foul was called while the Vikings’ Chaz Carrillo was shooting a three. Apparently, Carrillo had gotten the shot off before the foul so the basket counted. The Vikings were rewarded the ball the next possession and scored on an easy layup. A turnover by the Blue Devils allowed for another easy score as the Vikings were back in it 34-33 on a 7-0 run that lasted less than a minute. Despite the Vikings run, the Blue Devils went into the final quarter up 41-40.
The Vikings scored the first basket of the fourth quarter and forced the Blue Devils to play from behind the rest of the game. The Blue Devils were able to get the ball back with less than 20 seconds to play and hold for one last shot. Folson’s final drive did not fall as the Blue Devils lost 52-51.
Folson led all scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds. Toles finished with eight points and five rebounds. Carrillo led the Vikings in scoring with 14 points. Areneous Standerfield added 11.
“We battled back after they went on that 7-0 run and answered everything they did except for the last play.”
The loss put the Blue Devils record at 14-12 with two regular season games left.
The Blue Devils close out their regular season at home with games against the Charleston Tigers and Senatobia Warriors. At presstime Tuesday, February 5, the Devils were hosting the Tigers. They will host the Warriors on Friday, February 8.