Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> NLR ladies knock off Russellville

Leader sports editor

Except for the last half of the third quarter, North Little Rock controlled the action to earn its second win of the season, beating Russellville 76-55 in the first round of the Heavenly Hoops Classic at Mount St. Mary’s in Little Rock on Monday.

The Lady Wildcats’ pressure took its toll in the first quarter, forcing five turnovers and dominating on the boards, a trend that continued throughout the game.

Junior Lady Wildcat Kiara Webb scored six of her game-high 17points in the first quarter. She also finished with eight rebounds to follow up her 20-point, 12-rebound game in the team’s opener last week against Bryant.

“Webb had a great game,” North Little Rock Daryl Fimple said. “We did some good things. We have to make s0me free throws because we’re going to get to the line. This group is young but they are not shy about putting it up.”

Russellville is also young, playing its first game of the season with an entirely new starting five after losing seven players off last year’s class 6A state runner-up team.

Freshman Alyssa Owens is the Lady Cyclones’ starting point guard. She succumbed to the pressure early, but helped lead a comeback in the third quarter.

North Little Rock led 43-25 at halftime and scored the first eight points of the third quarter to move its margin to 26 points.

From that point, the Lady Cyclones outscored North Little Rock 16-5 through the rest of the quarter, and cut the lead to as little as 12 early in the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws by Owens made it 60-48 with 6:42 left in the game, but North Little Rock took control again for the rest of the game.

Five-straight points by senior center Tashika Harris made it 65-48. A pair of free throws by freshman Kyra Collier made it 70-50 with four minutes remaining.

“They made a little run like we knew they would,” Fimple said. “But we kept at it. Being this young you just want them to play hard and execute and I thought they did that ok.”

The Lady Wildcats enjoyed very balanced scoring. Four players besides Webb were in double figures. Harris scored 13 while Collier, Jasmin Mays and Halley Hill all scored 10 points. Dajha Hardamon added nine for North Little Rock.

“We’re playing about 12 kids and it’s probably going to be like that every night,” Fimple said. “That’s a good thing about this team. We don’t have that one outstanding player, but we have a whole bunch of really good ones.”

Russellville was also balanced. Owens, Rosalyn Peevy and Nicole Phillips each scored 14 points for the Cyclones.

The Lady Wildcats’ next game will be at 7 p.m. today against Star City, a 58-29 winner over Sylvan Hills in the first round. Russellville will face the Lady Bears at 4 p.m. today.