- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
For the most part, guards and co-captains Janiyah Logan and Alexia Tucker have carried the scoring load this season for the Halifax County Middle School girls’ basketball team. They surrendered part of that burden Monday night in the opening round of the Southside Middle School Conference Tournament, with four Lady Lions finishing in double figures in a 56-40 victory over a pesky Lunenburg squad at Lions Gym.
The Lions will play unbeaten Powhatan Friday at Powhatan Middle School at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the tournament.
A 23-9 run in the third quarter allowed the Lions to finally pull away from Lunenburg, which led briefly 11-9 late in the first quarter before a bucket from Tucker and two from Martin gave Halifax the lead for good at 15-11 heading into the second period.
An 8-0 run with two baskets from Tucker and one each from Martin and Logan gave Halifax a 23-11 cushion early in the second quarter before Halifax settled for a 26-18 lead at halftime.
A 16-2 run early in the third quarter gave Halifax a 42-22 advantage and the Lions cruised home from there, despite 13 second-half points from Lunenburg’s Rod Nequah Smith.
Halifax benefited from one of its most balanced scoring efforts of the season to beat Lunenburg, with Alexia Tucker scoring 16 points, Whitney White 12, Lakia Martin 11 and Janiyah Logan 10 points for the Lions.
Brittani Boxley added four, Brianna Cunningham two and Nyjah Torain one point from the foul line for Halifax, which was 11-19 from the charity stripe for the contest.
Smith scored 16 points for Lunenburg, which got nine points each from Myesha Freedom and Quandric Blackwell.
Lunenburg was 6-18 from the free throw line as a team.
The Lady Lions played well for not having played a game in almost three weeks, according to Lions coach James Smith.
“I’m real pleased with the way the girls played tonight and the effort they gave for not having played in almost three weeks,” he said.
“The key for us tonight came in the first two quarters when we rebounded the ball and got out on the break for some easy layups.
“Whitney White played really well and probably had her best game of the year, and Lakia Martin played well, particularly in the first quarter.
“If we can get 23 points out of those two girls, we can beat anybody.
“Alexia and Janiyah will usually get their points, and if we can get scoring like that from White and Martin, it’s a big plus for us,” Smith continued.
“Brittani is usually our third scoring option, and if we can get those three scoring along with Alexia and Janiyah, we’ll be in good shape.”
Smith challenged his team at halftime to come out strong in the third quarter, and the Lions did just that.
“We went in halftime and made some adjustments, and I reminded the girls that in both losses against Russell, we came out flat in the third quarter.
“I told them they needed to be real aggressive, get two or three layups and get ahead of them so they would have to play our game.
“We played good defense and got out on the break, and it’s the first time we’ve played well in the third quarter in a long time.”
The key to his team’s chances in the next round will be how well the Lions rebound and compete against Powhatan’s pressure defense.
“They’re big, but if we can rebound we can beat them down court, and that’s what happened tonight,” said Smith.
“We’ll go man-to-man with them to see what they’ve got and adjust if they handle that defense.”