Turnovers do in Lady Pan­thers again

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Tony Le­na­han tle­na­[email protected]­ton­courier.com

BEN­TON – A close game through­out, the Ben­ton Lady Pan­thers’ mis­for­tunes of han­dling the ball would come back to bite them Tues­day against the Sheri­dan Lady Jack­ets in 5A South Con­fer­ence play at Ben­ton Arena. A 17-17 game at the half, the Lady Pan­thers would drop a

40-34 de­ci­sion to fall to 3-10 over­all, 0-2 in South play.

“We made enough plays to stay in the game, but its two games in a row that if we take care of the ball bet­ter, we’d be 2-0 in con­fer­ence,” Ben­ton Coach Jerry Chum­ley said. “We did the same thing at Texarkana the other day, we just coughed the ball up too much.”

Tied 17-17 at half­time, Sheri­dan (6-7, 1-1) would go ahead 21-19 on a Cas­sidy Henry bucket, but Ben­ton se­nior Emily Hopper re­sponded with a 3-pointer as­sisted by se­nior Tues­day Mel­ton to take a 22-21 lead. But, that was the last lead the Lady Pan­thers would hold as the Lady Jack­ets re­sponded with a 6-0 run capped by an of­fen­sive re­bound and put back.

Ben­ton se­nior Cayla Clay­ton stopped the bleed­ing with a three of her own to make it a 27-25 Ben­ton deficit with just over two min­utes to go in the third, but post player Lau­ren Mcgin­ley took a des­per­a­tion three at the buzzer that went in to give Sheri­dan a 30-25 ad­van­tage go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter.

A 10-footer by Clay­ton and two free throws from se­nior post Rhema Ri­ley mad it a 30-29 deficit to start the fourth, and af­ter a 5-0 run by Sheri­dan, the Lady Pan­thers fought back with a three from sopho­more Bis­sette Chil­dress and a bucket by Clay­ton as­sisted by Chil­dress to get within 35-34 with 2:06 re­main­ing, but the Lady

Jack­ets closed it out the rest of the way.

Ben­ton com­mit­ted 16 turnovers to Sheri­dan’s 10, get­ting out­re­bounded 30-26.

“Sheri­dan wasn’t re­ally a pres­sur­ing team,” Chum­ley said. “They pressed a lit­tle bit and we han­dled it, we just made poor de­ci­sions with the bas­ket­ball. It’s cost us a lot of pos­ses­sions we’d love to have back. We’re not be­ing able to close it out be­cause we’re cough­ing it up too much.

“We’re in po­si­tion to make plays, we’re just not making them. We had a lot of open looks, we got the ball where we wanted to get it to. We had op­por­tu­ni­ties (Tues­day) and Satur­day to score more points … it just puts pres­sure on your de­fense to stop teams.”

Hopper led the Lady Pan­thers with 10 points, adding three re­bounds, but had a game-high six turnovers. Clay­ton fol­lowed with nine points and three re­bounds and Ri­ley had six points and eight re­bounds.

Ben­ton did hold Sheri­dan’s best player Henry to just eight points, as Kait­lyn Howard led the way with 10 points and eight re­bounds for the Lady Jack­ets. Claire Den­ney had nine points and six re­bounds.

“I hate it be­cause the kids are play­ing hard,” Chum­ley said. “Jor­dan Miller did a great job on Henry lim­it­ing her to eight points. We just don’t come down on the of­fen­sive end and con­vert a lot. It’s hurt­ing us.”

Ben­ton hits the road on Fri­day to Hot Springs to take on the Lake­side Lady Rams (12-2).

“They’ve got every­body back and they’re re­ally good,” Chum­ley said of the Lady Rams. “I think they’re one of the top teams in the league. We’ll have to tighten things up the next cou­ple days and go in there and get ready be­cause it’s not go­ing to get any eas­ier.”

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