BELDEN • The Tupelo Christian girls basketball team used its mighty defense to cruise past visiting Smithville, 48-25, in a non-division matchup on Monday night.
The Lady Eagles (7-1) forced 25 turnovers and held Smithville (3-4) to almost half of its scoring average. The Lady Seminoles came in scoring at a pace of 44 points per game, but never scored more than eight points in a single quarter.
“We are pretty physical and pretty athletic,” TCPS coach Ron Nichols said. “We do a really good job of getting after the ball and we do a really good job of trapping the ball.”
The Lady Eagles struggled offensively in the first half, but their defense carried the weight it needed to. TCPS forced turnovers on Smithville’s first three possessions of the game and jumped out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter.
Smithville turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter and scored only three baskets. They were held scoreless over the last four minutes of the quarter.
TCPS led 26-13 at halftime, then the offense got rolling in the third quarter. TCPS outscored Smithville 16-8 in the quarter to jump ahead 42-21, and most came through senior point guard Ainsley Hale.
She was held scoreless in the quarter, but six of her nine assists came in the second half. Three of those went to Anna Mae Ramsey, who was playing in her second game back from a PCL injury.
“My teammates are a big part of everything,” Hale said. “On the assists they just find the open spots and I try my best to find them when they get there. Most of the time, they connect and that got the offense going.”
(B) Smithville 67, TCPS 48: The Seminoles (5-0) stayed undefeated behind the scoring trio of Khieri Standifer (18 points), Blake Williams (17), and Mason Blair (15).
Turning Point: The Lady Eagles went on a 6-0 run over the last 1:29 of the first quarter to jump out to a double-digit lead and never looked back.
Point Maker: Hale finished with 14 points and nine assists.
Coach Speak: “They are one of the best man-to-man teams. They do a really good job of rotating and they’re very aggressive and my girls weren’t aggressive with the ball tonight. You can’t just pick the ball up at mid-court and give it to them.” – Smithville coach Brian McCollum.