Lady Wildcats 58, Pulaski Academy 53; J.A. Fair 73, Wildcats 54

Lady Wildcats defeat P.A. 58-53

By Keionte' L. Brown/SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL

The Watson Chapel Lady Wildcats took a 58-53 victory Tuesday over the Pulaski Academy Lady Bruins in a non-conference home match-up.

The Wildcats dominated the offensive end of the game. Jerica Bell had 21 points in the first half to jump start the Lady Wildcats.

Bell scored the first six points to put Watson Chapel up 6-3 midway through the first quarter. From that point, the Lady Wildcats went on an 11-2 run to end the quarter, holding a 17-5 lead.

In the second quarter, Wyvette Mayberry and T’Aja Williams helped to increase the Lady Wildcats' lead over Pulaski Academy with a combination of nine points in the quarter.

Watson Chapel held a 44-23 lead at halftime, but Pulaski Academy tried to make a comeback in the third quarter. Mattie Hatcher and Isis Woods combined for 10 of the Lady Bruins’ 15 third-quarter points to give them the momentum.

In the fourth quarter, with the Lady Wildcats ahead 52-38, Pulaski Academy started on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 54-50 with under three minutes left in the game.

After a made basket by Jhakiyah Boston for Watson Chapel, Pulaski Academy’s Woods hit a tough three-point basket to cut the lead to 56-53 with only a minute left in the game.

However, the Lady Wildcats would prevail, as Bell was fouled and nailed two free throws to ice the game 58-53.

Bell finished with a game-high 27 points; Mayberry pitched in with 11 points to pace the way for the Lady Wildcats.

For Pulaski Academy, Hatcher led the way with 24 points, and Jazmene McMillan followed with 13 points.

Watson Chapel will travel to Paragould on Wednesday to face West Memphis in the Greene County Tech invitational tournament.

J.A. Fair takes down Watson Chapel, 73-54

By Ocie B. Brown/OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF

Prior to Tuesday's game at J.A. Fair, Watson Chapel Wildcats Head Coach Marcelle Goins eluded to the fact that he doesn't have worries about his team playing hard. Also, Goins acknowledged that J.A. Fair War Eagles Head Coach Charlie Johnson has for years produced teams that play with a high level of intensity.

The Wildcats did indeed play hard, but the War Eagles stemmed together a number of runs that aided them to a 73-54 victory.

Watson Chapel point guard Kavon Mitchell set the tone from the start on the defensive end by applying heavy pressure to the ball. The aggressiveness on defense allowed the Wildcats to get out in transition and open up an early lead.

With the lead, the Wildcats decided to extend their pressure by picking up full court. However, the War Eagles were able to pass through the press to get a few easy buckets down low. In the first quarter, other than a late three by War Eagles guard C. Johnson, all of their offensive production came from the interior.

Mitchell hit an acrobatic layup to stop the War Eagles' run late in the first. After quarter one, Watson Chapel held an 18-15 advantage, and they were getting contributions across the board as five different Wildcats scored.

In the second quarter, the tide turned in favor of the War Eagles as they pounded the ball inside. War Eagles forwards M. Foust and D. Bankston became the difference in the game as they were getting anything they wanted inside.

To combat the interior scoring of the War Eagles, Goins decided to go to a 2-3 zone on defense. However, Fair would then open up an 11-0 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game. Wildcats sophomore J. Tillmon got to the line and knocked down a couple foul shots to stop the bleeding. Watson Chapel missed a number of chip shots at the rim, as opposed to J.A. Fair converting at the rim time after time.

At halftime, the War Eagles held a 35-23 lead, and the Wildcats were flustered.

Fair opened the second half by continuing to feed the post, exploiting the interior defensive struggles of the Wildcats. Foust and Bankston continued to make their stamp on this one by finishing strong, making smart passes from the inside out, and getting back on defense in transition. The War Eagles opened up a 20-point lead as the turnover problem began to rear its ugly head for Watson Chapel.

At the beginning of the fourth, Fair led 53-34, but just as Goins referenced his guys continued to play hard. With 6:17 remaining Goins called for a timeout as they had cut the deficit to 15 points.

Despite the effort, the Wildcats weren't able to make it any closer. In the waning minutes of the game, Bankston rose up for a couple of monster two-hand slams to help cement the win for Fair.

Overall the interior offense was too much for the Wildcats to overcome, forcing them to drop their third game of the season. Speaking with Goins after the game, he was upset with how his guys unraveled, and he believes the self-inflicted wounds are still detrimental.

"Regardless of what they did, we stopped doing what we had to do," Goins said. "In the first quarter, we drove, kicked and knocked down shots. Second quarter, we got selfish and start turning the ball over. Like I stated early, it's the small things right now, and it's going to kill us every time."

War Eagles forward M. Foust finished with a game-high 28 points, and his front court-mate D. Bankston added 12 points.

Watson Chapel's leading scorers were Jordan Tillmon with 15 points and Wilie Webster with 14 points.