Smithfield: Sports

Turnovers cost Corinth Holders girls against Wilson Hunt

Khadijah Neal, center, of Corinth Holders defends the basket against Hunt’s Brionna Pate in their game Thursday.
Khadijah Neal, center, of Corinth Holders defends the basket against Hunt’s Brionna Pate in their game Thursday.

Patience remains a virtue that the Corinth Holders girls basketball team has yet to grasp.

As a result, the Pirates fell victim to a 71-31 defeat Thursday at the hands of Big East 3A Conference member Wilson Hunt.

The loss sent the Pirates of the Two Rivers 3A Conference to their third loss in four outings, and the first without point guard and leading scorer Tajah Clark. Clark had suffered a knee injury earlier in the week at Nash Central.

What didn’t work: The Pirates were guilty of 32 turnovers in the contest with 14 coming in the opening stanza as the Warriors, who improved to 2-1, surged to a 23-4 lead.

The Pirates had difficulty getting the ball beyond the 3-point arc, going six minutes without a basket following Khadijah Neal’s score off a dish from Melanie Tola at the 5:47 mark of the first period.

After that, the Pirates suffered through a deluge of quick hands by the Warriors, who generated six steals. Then there were six unadvised passes and a pair of possessions bobbled out of bounds.

“And I’m sure they (Warriors) scored points off all of them,” said Pirates coach Brandy Smith. “We were just trying to force things too much, trying to make something happen.

“At the same time, not trying to realize playing within their own game – instead trying to elate things that are not there.”

What worked: When the Pirates did play within themselves, they mounted minor rallies, but the successes were few and far between.

By slowing their play, the Pirates cut down on their turnovers by quarter, slicing the errors in half in the second period, then by one in each of the following quarters.

Numbers of note: Despite Clark’s point production out of the lineup, the Pirates were still able to get balanced scoring. Cyarra Pierson guided the team with eight points and eight rebounds, and was complemented by Neal and Loren Johnson with six points each. Neal also grabbed five rebounds.

Unsung hero: Desperate to try any type of defense to stop the Warriors, the Pirates placed freshman Lexi Chase on Hunt’s Kiana Ballard. Despite the size differential, Ballard did not score while guarded by Chase.

Ballard finished the night with 14 points, one of three Warriors in double-figures scoring.