Tuesday, December 20, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bison overcome early deficit to beat LHS

Leader sports editor

The Carlisle Lady Bison got their first win in 20 years over county rival Lonoke on Saturday at the Gina Cox Center. Things didn’t go well for the visiting team early, but the Lady Bison rallied for a 37-31 victory over the Jackrabbits after falling behind by 11.

It was the first varsity win over Lonoke in the Jonathan Buffalo era of Lady Bison basketball, and he was proud of his team for overcoming the early deficit.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that we kept playing hard and didn’t quit,” said Buffalo. “The girls stuck with the game plan and kept executing, and finally started getting some easy baskets. It’s a big win for Carlisle. I’m proud of this team.”

Lonoke scored the first 11 points of the game before Carlisle’s Ashby Harbison came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the first quarter.

The margin stayed between four and 10 points throughout the second period. Carlislegot to within 13-9 with 3:22 left in the first half when Kayla Golleher got a steal and a layup for the Lady Bison.

Lonoke then scored five-straight points, the last two on free throws after a technical foul was issued to Golleher with 2:12 remaining. Mickenzie Williams’ two free throws were the last two points as both teams went scoreless the rest of the half.

The game began to turn in the third quarter when Carlisle opened the second half in a 2-1-2 fullcourt press. Lonoke turned it over on four-straight possessions as Carlisle scored seven-straight points to get to within two.

Lonoke coach Heath Swiney called timeout and made some adjustments on attacking the press.

“I just told somebody to flash in the middle, and once the ball was reversed, to attack,” said Swiney. “We had no trouble breaking the press after that. We started getting layups. We just weren’t making them. We got open threes and couldn’t make them. We hit those shots in the first half, but I think we were dead dog tired later in the second half.”

Lonoke played the game without two starters, including its leading scorer. That added a fatigue factor that Swiney thinks played a big role in the second half.

“No doubt defensively fatigue was an issue,” Swiney said. “In the first half we held them to nine points. We held their best player to three points. Late in the game we didn’t rotate fast enough on the back side and gave up three or four backside layups, and I think that was without a doubt because we were tired.

“I basically had no subs, and we were just tired. We couldn’t get to the spots we got to early.”

Carlisle tied the game with 2:31 left in the third quarter on a 10-foot jumper by Kylie Warren, and then took the lead for the first time a minute later on a 3-pointer by Golleher.

Lonoke’s Gracie Hyde answered with a 3-pointer and the two teams went into the fourth quarter knotted at 23-23.

Williams then scored the first basket of the fourth period for Lonoke before Carlisle went on a 10-0 run over the next 3:30 to take a 33-25 lead.

Mia Brown and Kaley Woodruff scored back-to-back baskets to make it 33-29 with just less tan three minutes remaining, but the Lady Rabbits could get no closer than four points the rest of the way.

Kiara Miller led Carlisle (9-2) with 10 points, all 10 in the second half and eight of those on those backside layups. Warren finished with nine.

Williams led Lonoke (7-4) with 10 points while Woodruff and Brown scored eight apiece.

Both teams will be back in action on the same floor Dec. 27 in the Goldfish Classic. Carlisle will face Des Arc 11 a.m. and Lonoke plays Hazen at 7 p.m.