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Warriors garner third

BEAR GRASS – Senior Rachel Taylor made the most of her minutes.

That’s exactly what Lawrence Academy Head Basketball Coach Jack Williford wants.

Taylor scored three points Thursday night at Bear Grass, but those points took her Lady Warriors from a one-point deficit to a two-point lead and allowed Lawrence to defeat Jamesville 31-21.

“I want everybody to be involved,” Williford said after the Warriors claimed the third-place game in Bear Grass’ tournament. “That’s why you see so many girls taking shots. If we rely on one player, we can’t win consistently. We are stressing a full team concept.”

Williford and assistant coach Grantley Mizelle used every player on the team, which included some that are normally junior varsity players, as they won their first game at the helm of the Lady Warriors’ program.

Lawrence got 18 points from senior Kendall Street, who spent a majority of the night on the floor during what was sometimes a rough basketball game.

The Lady Warriors trailed 16-12 at the half, but started a comeback in the third quarter.

After Street scored and Kathryn Gilbert hit a free throw, the Warriors were within one (16-15).

The two teams exchanged buckets before Taylor hit her three consecutive points to give Lawrence the lead.

After being fouled, Taylor hit 1-of-2 from the line and then hit a hoop 25 seconds later to push Lawrence ahead 20-18. From there, the Warriors never looked back.

After Jamesville got within 21-19, senior Kathryn Taylor scored with 1:57 left to play in the third quarter. Lawrence held that 23-19 lead after three periods of play.

In the fourth quarter, Lawrence extended the lead to 27-21 with a pair of free throws from Street and a bucket by Gillam.

Street and Debbie Stotesbury each hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win for Lawrence.

“It’s wonderful to win,” Williford said. “I’m glad to see our varsity come together. Only two games into the season they’re already starting to buy into our system.”

He continued, “It was a team effort. We still have a lot to learn, but we’re getting there.”

The game started slowly, with neither team scoring over the opening minute and a half. In fact, the two squads combined to shoot 4-of-19 in the first quarter.

Street got Lawrence on the board first at the 6:26 mark of the first period and Sarah Gillam scored moments later as the Warriors built a 4-0 lead.

Jamesville rallied with back-to-back buckets from Kara Perry and Elizabeth Ange. Paulisha McIntyre gave the Bullets a one-point advantage with her free throw with just 35 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Jamesville extended their lead to 9-7, but Lawrence rallied to take the lead on two hoops by Street. The Bullets, however, scored the final five points of the half to lead 16-12 at the intermission.

The Warriors had 28 turnovers for the evening. Williford said that was something the team would be working on.

“I think it was due to a little bit of jitters and also not completely knowing a new system yet,” he said. “We’re still working on that.”

The coach is also working on getting his players to understand what he expects from them.

“One thing we’re stressing is playing basketball,” he said. “We have plays, but if we have someone with an open lane, we want them taking a shot. We have to play basketball as well as run set plays.”

The Warriors (1-1) will be back in action Tuesday when they travel back to Bear Grass for a non-conference outing.