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Ewings leads West Point girls past New Hope

 

Adam Minichino

 

Kelsei Ewings is a hard to contain. 

 

The West Point High School senior has a smooth handle with either handle and shooting range that extends beyond the 3-point arc. 

 

The 5-foot-4 guard also isn''t afraid to throw her body into the fray for rebounds against bigger bodies. 

 

It''s difficult to match the energy and intensity Ewings brings to the court, but finding a way to do just that might be a key to help the Lady Green Wave take the next step. 

 

Ewings showed Tuesday night she could be ready to play that role, scoring 13 of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter to help West Point rally for a 66-61 victory against New Hope in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Division 2, District 1 game in Columbus. 

 

"We can take our game to another level, but we just have to play together," Ewings said. "In this game, we kind of slowed it up and everybody was in the flow of the game. When we play together there is no limit to where we can go." 

 

Wilma Davis (22 points) hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 5 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the game to give West Point (15-3, 2-1 district) the lead for good at 53-51. The lead grew to as many as seven and twice dwindled to two down the stretch, but Ewings was there to provide anything needed. She hit 5 of 6 free throws, she got knocked to the floor battling for a rebound, and she maintained her composure and her handle on the ball as the Lady Trojans (5-12, 0-3) tried to rattle her. 

 

West Point coach Jemmye Ann Helms, a former player at Mississippi State, said she has expected a lot of Ewings ever since was a freshman. There haven''t been many times Ewings has disappointed, and she certainly did more than her share against New Hope. 

 

"She had to step up big and guard 34 (Kaitlin Bradley)," Helms said. "She has gotten to the point where she can do that. Early in the game, I felt she was hiding from the ball a little bit because they were man-to-man with her a little bit, but she can play Division I. That will be commonplace when she gets to that level, and she is picking her game up." 

 

Nekeisha Walker added 15 points for West Point, which plays host to Saltillo on Friday. Helms said getting more players to match the level of Ewings will be key as her team tries to build momentum entering the district tournament. 

 

Bradley paced New Hope with a season-high 24 points. The freshman guard, who showed a strong shooting touch from 3-point range, is one of coach Laura Lee Holman''s kiddie corp. New Hope had only one senior -- Savannah Beaugh - on its roster to start the season, but she suffered a season-ending injury. As a result, Holman has mixed and matched with 11 freshmen and sophomores on a 14-player roster. She said her team''s effort Tuesday was one of its best of the season. 

 

"I think tonight they finally figured it out," Holman said. "I think I had a couple of lights click on for a couple of kids. The potential is definitely there. It has just taken time for them to realize it and how to win ballgames. 

 

"We''re still going to turn the ball over and do some silly things, but that is part of being young and growing up. Tonight I was really proud of them. It is going to be fun to watch them grow." 

 

D.J. Sanders (15 points) and Antonia Jethroe (11) also scored in double figures for New Hope. 

 

n Columbus (G) 59, Houston 42: Maggie Proffitt had 20 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead the Lady Falcons (12-5) on Tuesday night. 

 

KeKe Patterson had 17 points, Toni Petty had nine, and Kameron Corrothers added seven.

 

Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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