|The Lady Pirates had little to cheer about in the opening minutes early on Tuesday night. Just 12 seconds into the game, Gosnell lost one of their top scoring threats, Kemahri Soward, to a knee injury.||Minutes later, they were without center Britany Taylor because of foul trouble. Soward left the game to receive further medical attention on her knee. Westside took advantage of the loses and built a 19-7 lead through one period. The Warriors connected on four of seven three-pointers and looked in command of the ball game.|
"They came back to the bench and I told the kids, 'You're going to have to step up,'" said Lady Pirate head coach Jenna Weeks. "What we've asked of you in practice, here's your chance. This is it."
Seniors Shanice McClain and Zena Bowman took coach Weeks' words to heart and stepped up in a huge way. McClain scored 20 points and Bowman added 19, including 11 in the fourth period, to lead the Lady Pirate comeback.
"That's the senior leadership. That's where that confidence comes from," said Weeks. "They've had plenty of minutes and years on the floor. So, you've got to look for that leadership in games like that."
While McClain and Bowman had the numbers, it took an entire team effort to overcome the early Warrior lead. The Lady Pirates defense tightened up in the second period outscoring Westside, 23-4 in the period to build a 30-23 half time lead.
Weeks said it wasn't an adjustment in strategy but an adjustment in attitude that was the difference in the second period.
"For two days in practice, we talked about their (Westside) shooters who can hit the three. They're pretty consistent. I guess we had to have them prove that they could shoot them," she said sarcastically. "I told the girls, 'If you don't contest the three pointers, you're coming out of the game."
Needless to say, the speech worked. Westside hit just 3 of 16 from the three point line the rest of the way and rarely got a shot off without a hand in the face.
|Gosnell proved to have the touch from the outside as well.||Daneisha McBride connected twice and Cara Feagin hit from beyond the arc for the Lady Pirates during the second period comeback.|
McBride's three-pointer with 2:47 left in the half gave Gosnell its first lead of the game at 23-21. She scored four more points in the final minute of the half to build the Lady Pirate lead to 30-23.
Gosnell led by as many as 15 in the third period as Taylor finally got to see some action. She scored six points, blocked a shot and got a couple of huge rebounds in the period as the Lady Pirates took a 45-32 lead into the final frame.
Westside made a run at Gosnell in the fourth, cutting the lead to seven with 2:31 left in the game. However, Bowman and McClain shut the door on the Warriors. Bowman was 5-7 from the free throw line and made two huge steals that led to lay ups at the other end. McClain connected on a pair of free throws in the final minute and her lay up as time expired closed out the evening.
The Pirates improve to 2-0 on the year and 1-0 in the young 3-4A season.
"It feels good to start out with a win," said Weeks. "Of course there's still things you have to work on. Hopefully we can keep the winning attitude throughout the season."
Gosnell heads to Highland this weekend to compete in the Highland Classic on Saturday and returns home next Monday to take on the Manila Lady Lions.
Westside 51, Gosnell 41
The Westside Junior Lady Warriors defeated the Gosnell Junior Lady Pirates, 51-41, Tuesday night.
Westside led by double digits throughout most of the game before Gosnell cut the lead to just four points midway through the fourth period. Westside, however, held on for the win.
The Warriors led 22-9 at the end of the first period, 29-18 at half time and 38-26 at the end of three periods.
Daelyn Bingham led the Lady Pirates with 13 points and Brook Hill added 12.