Lady Bulldogs defeated by Hamburg

White Hall's Kynnedi Barnett goes for a lay up with Jessivelles Lainey Tippen defending during the Tuesday night game at White Hall. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)

An early lead didn't last Tuesday night as the White Hall girls' basketball team suffered its first loss of the season.

Hamburg traveled north and defeated the Lady Bulldogs 54-48 in non-conference action.

White Hall (2-1) led 14-11 after the first quarter, but the Lady Lions took the lead early in the second.

Hamburg (1-0) never trailed again, though the Lady Bulldogs kept it close.

White Hall coach Dustin Powell said poor free-throw shooting decided the game.

"We work on it a ton," Powell said. "We gotta deliver in the fourth quarter on free throws. We turned them over a ton, got to the line, just can't knock them down."

The Lady Bulldogs finished the game six of 20 from the line, missing out on 14 potential points in a 6-point loss. Nine of White Hall's free-throw misses came in the fourth quarter. Hamburg shot eight of 10.

White Hall junior Blair Weston scored a game-high 14 points, with teammates Kynnedi Barnett and Kenedi Bowman scoring 9 apiece. Eight Lady Bulldogs scored with a ninth, Jelayla Stith, providing two assists.

Powell said it is nice to have several players who can score.

"Some people that hadn't been scoring scored a couple tonight," Powell said. "Usually, we have two players who do most of our scoring. It was nice to see it spread out a little bit more tonight."

Skylar Watkins led Hamburg with 13 points, and three other Lady Lions scored 9.

Barnett gave White Hall an early 2-0 lead before Hamburg took a 4-2 lead after Lainey Tippen nailed a 3-pointer. Laila Adams hit a 3-pointer of her own to put White Hall back in front, and the Lady Bulldogs led the rest of the first quarter.

Hamburg opened the second on a 9-0 run, taking a lead it would not relinquish. The Lady Lions led 28-23 at halftime.

Powell said foul trouble forced him to substitute some players in the second quarter, which helped the Lady Lions take control.

"Some girls got some playing time that normally don't get in as much, but some of them stepped up," Powell said. "Some of them earned more playing time today. I think we're right there. I think we missed some putbacks. We missed some open 3s that we work on, corner 3s."

The second half was evenly matched, but White Hall never recovered from being outscored 17-9 in the second quarter. A free throw by Weston and a shot by Bowman to start the second half cut the deficit to 28-26, but Hamburg responded with a 10-2 run.

This was White Hall's first setback this season after opening the year with wins against Glen Rose and Maumelle.

Despite Tuesday's loss, Powell said he feels good about this year's team, a young squad with four sophomores in the starting lineup.

"We're only going to get better," Powell said. "I started three of them last year, most of the year as ninth graders. They're still young. There's still a learning curve going on, but I think here in the next year or so, we're going to be a problem."