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Lady Cats kick off tough stretch with easy win

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Sherman's Jastic Eleby scored 11 points during the Lady Bearcats' win over Denison in 10-5A play.

The backlog of games for the Lady Bearcats began in earnest with their rival and Sherman entered a stretch of five games in six days to end the year with a performance they hope can set the tone for a playoff push when the last buzzer sounds.

With a chance to sweep the Denison Lady Yellow Jackets for the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Lady Cats didn’t miss the opportunity and took the first of the needed steps to make some late noise in the district standings after a 47-31 win over Denison in a 10-5A makeup contest at Bearcat Gymnasium.

“I was really pleased with the way they played off quarantine. It’s hard to come off no practice for 10 days and then do that in a rivalry game,” first-year Sherman head coach Kara Skinner said. “That’s big stuff. We came in saying things were going to change. Coming up with two wins like that proves it.”

Jastic Eleby scored 11 points, Destiny Briscoe added 10 points, seven steals and five rebounds, Ally Baker chipped in eight points, Andre’sha Luper had seven points and Jaliyah Guess grabbed 10 rebounds for Sherman (5-10, 3-7), which plays at Wylie East on Friday night.

The Lady Cats then have home makeup games with Lovejoy on Saturday and The Colony on Monday before ending the season at home against Princeton on Tuesday. Sherman is chasing The Colony and Rock Hill for the fourth playoff spot.

“We need some things to happen. We’re holding on to a little bit of hope,” Skinner said.

Kzaria Butler scored eight points, Alyssa Rhodes and Jada Mathews added six points apiece and Faith Shaw chipped in four points for Denison (5-17, 2-9), which travels to Lovejoy on Friday night.

The Lady Jackets, who were missing three starters due to injury, were all but eliminated from the playoffs. Denison would need to win its last three games plus have Rock Hill lose out, The Colony lose at least two of its final three games and Sherman three of its last four.

When Shaw came up with a steal and layin to open the fourth, Sherman’s lead was at 16 with almost the whole quarter left for the Lady Jackets to try and close the gap.

But their turnover troubles continued with 10 more on the way to finishing with 37 and they went scoreless for the next four minutes.

Baker led the ensuing push which gave the Lady Bearcats a 41-19 lead by the middle of the quarter and and Eleby had a three-point play and then a three-pointer for a 23-point margin with 2:52 remaining before Denison notched the final seven points.

Sherman continued to harass Denison as the second half began in the middle of three straight quarters where the Lady Jackets finished with double-digit turnovers. There were 12 in this period, although Denison was able to score more points in the third (10) than it did in the first half (7).

Mathews followed a long two from Butler with a three-pointer and the Lady Jackets held Sherman to just seven points with five of them coming in the final 2:12 on layups by Briscoe and Luper after a Brooklyn Fielder free throw.

That, however, only trimmed the deficit to 18 heading to the fourth.

The Lady Bearcats turned up the defensive pressure by forcing 12 turnovers in the second quarter. Denison went almost four minutes without a point before Rhodes scored underneath.

By that time Sherman was up 20-3 after Briscoe and Guess each notched a pair of baskets to start the stanza.

Eleby and Fielder hit three-pointers in the final minute of the half to give the Lady Bearcats a 28-7 advantage at the break.

Seven different Lady Cats got in the scoring column through two quarters and only Briscoe (six) and Luper (five) had more than four points in helping to procure the big lead.

Sherman opened the game with nine straight points, including a three-pointer from Luper, before Denison finally got in the board thanks to a three by Akadia Pace with 2:53 remaining in the first quarter.

It was the only basket that kept the Lady Bearcats from earning a shutout quarter. Baker scored in the final minute and Sherman took a 12-3 lead after eight minutes of action.

District 10-5A

Sherman                47

Denison                 31