Turnovers do in Lady Panthers again
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.”