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South Pontotoc responds with gritty effort

December 20, 2011
Hatley High School

By Gene Phelps: NEMS Daily Journal

SPRINGVILLE - South Pontotoc coach Matt Waldrop challenged his players this week to play with more "grit" in games.

They responded Friday night against a physical Hatley team.

Waldrop's Lady Cougars, behind a combined 25-point, second-half scoring effort from senior twin sisters Emily and Elizabeth Henson, rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat the Lady Tigers 68-57.

"They did a good job; they gritted it out," Waldrop said. "I challenged them and they responded with tougher play.

"I felt like we had been playing soft. I told them if we didn't bring it tonight, we wouldn't win."

South Pontotoc (10-4), which trailed 38-32 midway in the third quarter, closed the period with a 14-1 run to charge ahead 46-41.

Elizabeth Henson, who scored 14 points, started the Cougars' run with a 3-pointer. Hillary Staten closed it with a layup.

"We knew we didn't play well in the first half," Henson said. "We like a challenge."

Emily Henson, who scored a team-high 19, scored eight points to fuel a 16-4 run to start the fourth quarter. The spurt gave South Pontotoc a 62-45 advantage with 3 minutes, 55 seconds remaining.

"We've worked harder this week (after a Monday loss to Tremont) in practice," Emily Henson said. "We came out an attacked in the second half. We hate losing."

Hatley (6-4) trailed 25-17 early in the second quarter, but rebounded with a 14-2 run to take its 4-point halftime lead.

"Basketball is always a game of runs," Waldrop said. " Hatley gets after you. You get winded. We had trouble finishing shots.

"Credit the girls, they kept playing hard. I was proud of the poise they showed in the second half."

Hatley was led by 5-foot-11 post player Lauren Sloan with a game-high 21 points. Katie Beth Worthy added 12 for the Tigers.

For South Pontotoc , C.C. Costilow added 18 points and Staten had 10.

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