PHILADELPHIA — Normally coaches would be satisfied with surviving an elimination game in double overtime and accept the fact her team would be physically and emotionally drained one night later.
Not Kristie Williams.
The Starkville High School girls basketball coach couldn’t hide her frustration at the lack of energy and intensity her squad played with Friday night in a playoff loss.
“It wasn’t too much to ask out of them at all,” Williams said. “To play this game at this level and this late in the season, you have to be ready to play a back-to-back. You can’t change your desire to win and intensity in 24 hours.”
Starkville was simply unable to make it back-to-back upsets Friday night. Less than 24 hours after a thrilling double-overtime victory over host Neshoba Central guaranteeing them a spot in the next round of the Class 5A playoffs, the Lady Jackets fell to the region regular season champion Canton 56-33.
Starkville battled through the first 16 minutes getting most of their offense off the offensive glass while Canton was much more efficient in a halfcourt style leading 19-12 when both teams went to the locker room for the halftime break.
Starkville coach Kristie Williams admitted Friday night that the emotion of winning and exuding the energy in a 40-minute elimination game the night before was not a good formula for playing a well-rested
Canton team the very next night.
Canton sprinted out to a 16-6 run in the third quarter to give the Lady Tigers a 17-point advantage and allow them to cruise to the Region Tournament championship. Canton won all three games of the 2011-12 season against the Lady Jackets.
“I thought our energy level was low and we didn’t come out with the desire of knowing we could come home with the division trophy,”
Williams said. “When you don’t play with the desire to win, what am I to do as a coach? I can only motivate so much.”
Canton guard Salleria Travis and her unusual one-handed three-point shot scored 12 points for the Lady Tigers and her long range shooting was they catalyst for a 13-4 run that put any hopes for a Starkville comeback out of reach.
Canton was led by the inside-out offensive game of Andrea Fleming’s game-high 16 points as she was able to find the lane and foul line early on before finding her jump shot in the second half.
The Lady Jackets failed to have an player have a double-figure performance offensively and were led by nine points from Janay Townsell.
Starkville will now be on the road again facing facing Center Hill Monday to keep their season alive in the 2012 Class 5A playoffs.
“Monday is still a put out situation for everybody but going on the road to do it makes that task that much tougher to do,” Williams said.
“The problem is we’ve got to want it more than we did tonight.”