Nothing came easy for Scotlandville or Walker in their District 4-5A girls basketball game at Scotlandville on Thursday night.
There were no easy rebounds, no easy loose balls and few uncontested shots in the battle between two pressure-oriented teams.
Scotlandville (16-8, 6-3) broke open a tight game in the final three minutes to take a 64-53 win, but that was the first time they had that much separation in the game.
Walker overcame a 15-8 first- quarter deficit with a 23-point second quarter to tie the game at 31 at halftime, and Scotlandville led by only three, 48-45, after three quarters. Then, after Kacie Fountain hit two free throws to put the Wildcats up 51-50, the Hornets took the game over and closed it with a 14-2 run.
“That’s something we’ve been working on — finishing games,” Scotlandville coach Sean Beauchamp said. “A lot of times we’ll jump out on an opponent, then let them back in the game. We had a nice long talk at halftime and did a lot of soul-checking. I think it paid off.”
Fountain and Baylie Spears combined for 17 second-quarter points to shoot the Wildcats back into the game, but both cooled off in the second half, collecting a total of three points.
Keeona Brown and Jamie Gibson took up some of the offensive slack, but Walker couldn’t contain Celica Sterling and Justice Coleman in the second half with Sterling scoring 12 of her game-high 21 and Coleman adding 11 to finish with 17.
Fountain led Walker (25-5, 8-2) with 16 points, followed by Stears with 14 and Brown with 10.
With the Hornets leading 54-51, Walker came up empty on four trips down the floor, missing the front end of two one-and-one opportunities and failing to capitalize on two steals, once on a missed layup and once turning the ball back over.
Walker coach Korey Arnold called the game a reality check for his team.
“We had ample opportunities to get the game done, but we didn’t do it,” he said. “We haven’t been doing the things the last two weeks you have to do to win. We’ve just been squeaking by. We’ve been complacent — no energy — in practices, and I told them this was coming.”
The quick-paced game didn’t lack energy or contact as the teams fought back and forth through the second and third quarters.
“Walker has a great team, and we had a balanced team effort,” Beauchamp said. “We stress conditioning in every drill we do, and I think the better-conditioned team and the team that plays the best defense will win.”