HATLEY – It was a win last Tuesday night for the Hatley Lady Tigers over their county rival Smithville, but Hatley coach Scott Carter called it an ugly one.
“We won, and that was the good thing that happened,” Carter said. “We forced a lot of turnovers, but didn't take advantage of them. We didn't finish shots, missed layups and didn't play focused. It wasn't a good effort.”
Despite the struggles, it was a good start to the game for Hatley as the team led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. Alyssa Palmer had back-to-back baskets in the period, while Alana Edwards scored five points during the quarter. Smithville was held to an Erin Williamson free throw and a Danielle Johnson basket.
The Lady Noles started to pull back into the game in the second quarter by way of Williamson and Mandi Whitehead, who did all the scoring for Smithville in the period. Edwards kept the Lady Tigers with a commanding lead, however, having 11 points at the half as Hatley led 24-13.
Katie Beth Williams opened the third quarter with a layup for Smithville, but Hatley scored the next five points to lead by 14. Williamson closed the third with a basket and a pair of free throws to bring Smithville to within 30-19.
Edwards scored for Hatley to start the fourth quarter, but Williamson and Whitehead answered to close the lead to single digits at 32-23. Megan Ballard widened the gap with a basket and a free throw, and Edwards' three-point play gave the Lady Tigers some more breathing room.
Williamson's three cut it down to a 10-point game once again and despite her two late baskets to end the game, the Lady Tigers secured the win at the free-throw line.
Williamson led all scorers with her 24 points. Edwards was once again Hatley's leading scorer with 20 points, followed by 11 points from Ballard.
“We've got to get mentally tough. This time of the year, you have to be ready to play every night,” Carter said. “We weren't ready to play tonight, and that's my fault. We're going to do something about it. You want to build momentum and playing your best ball going into division tournament, and I feel like we went backwards tonight.”
(B) Smithville 57, Hatley 37
Dee Moore and Kylar Poole drained back-to-back threes midway through the first to put Smithville up by double digits, and the Noles led by that margin most of the game.
Tucker Bourland and Dru Stanford scored the first four points of the second quarter to get Hatley back into the game, but an old-fashioned three-point play from Drew Cox and a layup by Heath Noe extended Smithville's lead once again. The Noles led 34-14 at the half.
Early three-pointers in the third quarter by Moore and Noe put Smithville up 42-14, and the Noles cruised from there.
Smithville's leading scorers were all right together – Noe with 16 points, Poole with 15 and Moore with 14.
Woods scored 13 points to lead Hatley with Bourland also in double figures with 10 points.