Warriors' defense grounds Eagles

RUSSELL

Daily Journal

PONTOTOC – The scoreboard doesn’t lie. Pontotoc, a 49-21 winner against Ingomar, dominated this early season high school girls basketball matchup.

The Lady Warriors (3-0), No. 5 in the Daily Journal preseason rankings, held the visiting and previously unbeaten Lady Falcons (2-1) to 10 percent shooting in the first half with their zone defense and built a 25-5 halftime lead.

“I thought we played a little bit in a panic in the first half offensively. I think we did a nice job rebounding in the first half,” said coach Bill Russell, who returns two starters in guards Marlee Hatcher and Alex Brown. “We’re still young and not on the same page, yet.”

To begin the third period, Pontotoc’s patented pressure defense created turnovers that helped build a 37-7 lead with a 12-2 run.

Hatcher, who led the Lady Warriors with 14 points, connected on three consecutive 3-pointers in the run.

“That looked like us,” Russell said. “We started getting some turnovers and got into a rhythm. We were doing something new defensively.

“I thought we really came out in the third quarter and looked like the team I was expecting to see.”

Brown added 12 points, eight coming in the first half, for Pontotoc. Lindsay Hall led Ingomar with seven points.

In Thursday’s other games in the Pontotoc Shootout, Cannon Ratliff scored 20 to lead Ripley’s boys to a 66-52 win against Hickory Flat. Tia Davis scored 21 to lead North Pontotoc to its 60-49 win over Hickory Flat.

3-Pointers

Turning Point: Pontotoc’s zone defense held Ingomar to 2 of 20 from the field in the first half the girls game.

Point Leader: Marlee Hatcher hit four 3-pointers to pace Pontotoc.

Talking Point: “There’s a little pressure on us, but we’ve got confidence in our teammates. They’ve stepped up this year and eased the pressure.” – Pontotoc’s Marlee Hatcher, referring to herself and Alex Brown being the lone returning starters

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