By Chris McCarthy/Editor
With Chelsea within single digits of her Lady Panthers at intermission last Monday (Dec. 19), Southside High girls basketball coach Kim Nails streamlined her halftime adjustments to one area.
Convert turnovers into points.
“We created a lot [of turnovers] in the first half but we weren’t able to capitalize on some of them,” she said. “If you get a turnover and then throw [the ball] away or take a low percentage shot, all that work is in vain.”
Southside (9-1) began the second half with a full-court pressure defense that led a 23-5 run. By the time the third quarter buzzer sounded, the Lady Panthers had turned a 41-36 halftime lead into the 72-48 advantage.
The Lady Hornets never got within 13 points the rest of the way, and Southside cruised to a 91-72 victory.
For the Lady Panthers, Kelsey Patterson finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. She is averaging a double-double so far this season in points and rebounds.
“Kelsey has become a very consistent player for us,” said Nails. “She has a different gear than most kids and gives a 100 percent effort on every play. When she does that, it creates energy for the whole team.”
Mallary Smith contributed 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Emilee Coker added 11 points and six rebounds. Tori Opdyke scored 10 points, while Alexis Thompson and A.J. Jones each chipped in nine.
The hosts jumped out to a 17-10 lead before Chelsea drew within 18-14 after one quarter. Patterson scored nine of her points in a back and fourth second period, where the lead changed hands six times.
The Lady Hornets’ last lead of the game was 36-34 off a pair of free throws by Kathryne Shoop. Southside finished the first half on a 7-0 sport capped by Smith’s basket with 17 seconds left.
Smith and Coker each scored eight points in the decisive third frame to help provide the Lady Panthers with a 24-point cushion after 24 minutes.
“Chelsea’s a very scrappy team that’s very aggressive,” said Nails. “We really had to tighten up on defense. If there’s one breakdown, there’s a hole, so it takes all five players doing their job. We’ll be okay if we keep playing hard and finish.”
In junior varsity action earlier in the day, Zoey Sites scored 11 points in Southside’s 36-11 win. Kaylee Brown and Anna Motley each added eight points for the Lady Panthers (8-0), followed by Anna Hipps and Marley Little with six each.