Lady Bulldogs demolish Marked Tree
Earle held the Indians to a 19 percent shooting percentage while scoring 46 points off turnovers in the blowout
Twenty-four hours after demolishing Armorel with a 76-point victory, the Earle Lady Bulldogs kept the offensive onslaught going with a 67-15 victory over Marked Tree.
However, despite the 52point margin of victory, Earle head coach Corey Garrett believes the Lady Bulldogs (15-3 overall) can put teams away even more emphatically.
“They looked sluggish,” Garrett said of his team’s performance. “We didn’t play with enough energy tonight. The score may not indicate that, but, me just watching them, we didn’t play with the energy that we needed to play with.”
To the casual observer, it may seem hard to believe that a team that jetted out to a 36-5 lead after one quarter didn’t play with a high level of energy. But Garrett explained his point of view.
“I was looking at too many missed opportunities, layups and free throws,” Garrett said. “The defensive intensity was not there like it was the other night.
There were just a few things that I saw that I didn’t like.”
One thing Garrett did like was the dominance of junior guard RoShala Scott.
Scott, who poured in 26 points the previous night against Armorel, repeated her scoring performance against Marked Tree, in the first half alone. The Earle junior finished the night with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, 2 blocks and shot 60 percent from the field.
“Yeah, she came out kind of aggressive,” Garrett said. “We need some other players to be aggressive with her, but yeah she did.
Ro (Scott) came out aggressive. I don’t know what kind of mission she was on, but she was aggressive.”
Scott’s scoring made up half of Earle’s first-half points as the Lady Bulldogs carried a 52-9 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.
While Garrett says he doesn’t know what type of mission led Scott to play with that kind of intensity out of the gate, he does know what type of mission his team is on and that is to fulfill one goal; win a state championship.
“The whole goal is to redeem ourselves from last year,” Garrett said. “The girls know that and we’re playing like that sometime, not all the time, but we are on a mission. We only have one goal and that’s the goal, to be state champs and the girls know that. We talk about that.
So, we’re on a mission and I’m glad that they do come out. Even though we don’t play with the energy that I want us to play with all of the time, they have been taking care of business.
But, we’re on a mission and that’s the mission, to get back to Hot Springs and be state champs.”
To avenge their semifinal round loss in last year’s state championship though, the Earle ladies are going to need more consistent play from all of their players and not just rely on 20plus point a night from Scott, according to Garrett. The Earle head coach would also like to see sophomores T’asja Hughey and Elaijha Brown pump in near 20 points a game.
Hughey led the Bulldogs against Armorel with 28 points but managed just 13 against Marked Tree.
Meanwhile, Brown, who reeled off 16 points and 13 steals against Armorel came up with another double- double against Forrest City with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
“You can not have 28 points one night and come back the next night with 10 or 12 points and not bring the same intensity,” Garrett said. “We’re counting on T’asja Hughey and Elaijha Brown. They’re a big part of what we do and they have to be more consistent with how they’re playing.
They’re not playing with the same consistency that they need to play with in order for us to be state champs. And, they have the talent to do that. That’s why I’m saying they have to be more consistent.”
Along with Hughey, Brown and the play of post-players like Kelsey Moore who led Earle in rebounding with 8 boards while also pushing through 8 points, the Lady Bulldogs certainly have an arsenal of weapons to surround Scott with. That puts the Earle junior in a new role. Instead of putting a team on her back as she’s done in seasons past, the Lady Bulldog all-state shooter finds herself in a teaching role when she’s not knocking down jumpers or converting on breakaway layups and that’s a role that Garrett says she enjoys.
“Ro tries to provide leadership during the game, talking to them during the game, timeouts, any break in the game,” Garrett said.
“She’s trying to encourage them. That’s why I try to allow them to handle the ball more. She kind of takes a back seat and allows them to handle the ball more so they can get that experience handling the ball and running the team. That way, she doesn’t have to play on the ball all of the time and she’s been pretty good about letting them do that and encouraging them to be more aggressive and to show more leadership… It’s kind of a luxury and I think she’s fine with that where she doesn’t have to score 30 points a night.”
Garrett will look for more of that team consistency and another Lady Bulldogs victory as Earle travels to East Poinsett County this Friday to take on the Warriors (7-11) in a 6:00 p.m. tip-off.
By Collins Peeples