Lady Lions win season opener

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Manila Lady Lion basketball coach Jeff Priest installed a new defensive scheme for the 2008-2009 season. The plan calls for his Lady Lions to substitute frequently and apply constant pressure to their opponents. If Monday night's season opener was any indication, the Lady Lions are well on their way to a successful year, as Manila broke away from a six point halftime lead and raced to an 84-65 victory over Buffalo Island Central in non-conference basketball action.

Manila's Savannah Jones (42), Tiffany Pentecost (3) and BIC's Jordan Miller (20) ready to rebound the basketball in Monday night's senior girls contest at Manila. Jones scored 17 points and pulled down 15 boards for the Lady Lions while Miller tallied 17 points for the Lady Mustangs. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

"We want to apply pressure and wear the other team down in the second half, and I think we did that tonight," said Priest. "We still have a lot of things to work on, but it was a very good effort for the first game of the year."

The victory didn't come easy, even though the Lady Lions built as much as a 20 point lead late in the third period. BIC fought back and pulled to within nine points midway through the fourth quarter before Manila put the game away.

Manila junior Kimberly Wise scored nine of her 18 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out at the 4:01 mark. Senior Rebekah White and junior Savannah Jones took over from there, dominating the inside, squelching any hopes the Lady Mustangs might have had for one final run.

The two post players combined for 38 points and 29 rebounds to help Manila dominate the boards against the smaller Lady Mustangs. "Savannah Jones played the game of her life," said Priest. "She really stepped up and pulled down a ton of rebounds. Rebekah White also had a big game, especially in the fourth quarter. I thought we wore them down as the night went on, and that's what we want to do this year against teams. There were times when it looked like we didn't have a clue about what we were doing, but for an opener I thought we played pretty good. We just need to work on some things and get better."

Manila built an eight point lead in the first quarter thanks to an 8-12 performance from the free throw line, but the Lady Mustangs fought back and cut the lead to 36-30 by halftime.

Members of both the Manila Lady Lions and the BIC Lady Mustangs fight for possession of a loose ball Monday night during the junior high basketball contest at Manila.

Wise opened the second half with a three pointer, and after an inside bucket from Jones, the Lady Lions had a 41-33 lead. Jordan Miller answered for BIC with a long three pointer, cutting the lead to 41-36 at the 5:50 mark, but the Lions went on a 17-2 run behind an offensive outburst by Wise and Jones to open up a 58-38 lead with 2:04 left in the quarter. Manila ended the quarter with a 63-47 lead.

BIC didn't quit, charging back one last time to slice the Lion lead to 69-60 with a run of their own, capped off by an offensive rebound bucket from sophomore Taylor Owens at the 4:49 mark of the fourth quarter. But the Lions staved off the Mustang rally to pick up their first win of the season.

White led Manila with a double-double, scoring 21 points while snatching 14 rebounds, while Jones also had a double-double, with 17 points and 15 boards. Wise poured in 18 points while senior point guard Colleen Kemp added eight points while dishing out seven assists. Katie Donner and Kristen Painter pitched in six points apiece, Maegan Presson netted four while Jordan Robertson and newcomer Tiffany Pentecost added two points apiece. The Lady Lions finished the night 24-37 from the free throw stripe.

BIC placed three players in double figures, led by junior Holly Dempsey who scored 19 points, including eight in the opening period. Jordan Miller followed closely behind, adding 17 points, while Jenna Pike pumped in 12. Corie Flannigan netted eight, Shelby Qualls scored four while Kalee James and Jamie Harris added two points apiece. The Lady Mustangs shot 42 free throws, connecting on 28.

In junior high action, BIC remained undefeated with a 51-24 win over the Junior Lions. Demi Hargrove scored 15 points while Jacey Sneed and Cassidy Qualls added 11 and 10 points respectively. Kaylee Greathouse netted nine, Rachel Goldammer and Brittany Fowler scored two points apiece while Hayley Parker added one.

Shelby Wallace led Manila with eight points. Morgan Earnest netted four, Kristen Wise, Brianna Stone, and Kirsten Adcock tallied three points apiece, while Courtney Craine netted two. Devon Burrow added one to round out the Lady Lion attack.

The Lady Lions will return to action Monday night as they travel to Tuckerman before closing the week Thursday night at home against Harrisburg.

BIC will travel to Gosnell Monday and Armorel Thursday night.

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