Defensive intensity leads Starkville past West Point

January 28, 2014 10:34:37 PM

Matthew Stevens - [email protected]


WEST POINT - Greg Carter wants the third quarter his team played Tuesday night to show them how effective they can be if they're intense on the defensive end.  


After going to the locker room up just eight at halftime, Starkville (20-3) turned up the defensive intensity on the West Point ball handlers and immediately saw a 15-0 run lead them to a blowout victory. In a hostile rivalry game atmosphere, the Yellow Jackets outscored the host Green Wave 56-31 in the second half by turning turnovers into easy open baskets in a 89-55 blowout win. 


"We finally got the ball where we wanted it and needed it against their zone and to be honest, most of that was dictated off us getting stops and not taking the ball out of our own net on defense," Carter said. 


Just days after knocking off the top-ranked Madison Central 70-62 Friday night, Starkville got three double figure scoring efforts to beat West Point for the second time by over 20 points. On Nov. 23, Starkville handled the Green Wave in a 73-48 home victory. Tuesday night saw the emergence of SHS sophomore guard Tyson Carter, the son of the Yellow Jackets head coach. Carter had all 11 of his points in the second half by taking his smooth dribble drive offensive game consistently to the basket for production.  


"We knew we didn't play up to our standards and the standards of Starkville basketball in that first half," Tyson Carter said. "This kind of win does nothing but boost our confidence level up and lets us know that we keep working, we can continue to get even better." 


West Point (20-4) got early production from 5-foot-7 point guard A.J. Jones but Carter's decision to trap and pick up the senior guard full court resulted in him not seeing any open looks in the final 16 minutes.  


"This is a game where Starkville proved once again that when they want to turn up the defensive intensity, they're an incredibly dangerous basketball team," West Point coach Brad Cox said. "We didn't match their intensity and got frustrated when a couple of shots didn't fall in that third quarter that got away from us." 


The Green Wave came into the matchup after winning eight of last nine games and had the home crowd enthused after a layup by senior Anthony Craddeth put them ahead for the only time all evening, 18-17 in the second quarter.  


Starkville was led by 16 points from Dontavius Self and 14 points from Dispatch Player of the Week Richard Evans. Evans had seven points in a third quarter where they doubled up West Point 28-14 and led by as many as 30.  


"We can pull out certain segments of this game and tell them this is the way we have to do it against quality teams," Carter said. "At the same time, I can see segments of this game where if repeated, we'll be home early in February."  


Starkville will play Aberdeen at home Thursday and then 48 hours later will host Southaven in a rescheduled game from earlier in December. West Point will try to regroup as its host its biggest region game of the season when they host Oxford in a game that will likely decide the region regular season title.  


"We'll look at this film but we don't have much time to cry over a loss like this because we know how important it is for our playoff chances going forward to knock off a team like Oxford in our own building," Cox said.  


Starkville girls 62, West Point 27: In a game where Blair Shaefer could've likely dictated her own individual point total, the Starkville senior guard made sure she got others involved in a blowout victory at West Point.  


Schaefer had 12 of her game-high 15 points in the first half of a victory but made sure senior guard Imane Montgomery also had 14 points as well.  


"Not enough people know she leads us in assists as well and that's kind of the player Blair is," Starkville coach Kristie Williams said. "She is a excellent leader for us that goes well beyond scoring." 


Starkville (13-5) outscored the Green Wave 27-7 in the second quarter to allow Williams to rest her starters for most of the second half as the Lady Jackets led 43-15 at halftime.  


"We needed a game like this because we wanted to show those on the bench that you need to make the most of your opportunity," Williams said. "You never know when somebody will be needed down the stretch of a season like this." 


West Point was led by 13 points from Shamaya Lyles but the junior couldn't handle Starkville full-court pressing defense by herself for much of the second quarter run.  


"We pride ourselves in being able to put pressure on the ball because we know then we can get easy layups or the opportunity to get to the foul line," Williams said.  


Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.