Princeton Times

Sports

December 21, 2012

Tigerettes tame Wildcats

PRINCETON — The Princeton Tigerettes are off to a perfect 4-0 start, most recently defeating the Nitro Wildcats and their PikeView High School rivals, the Lady Panthers.

The Tigerettes traveled to Nitro on Dec. 13 to battle the Wildcats (4-2) and returned home with a convincing 64-41 win.

Marissa Mullens and McKenzie “Zee” Akers alternated in igniting the Princeton offense. For the game, Akers tallied 25 points and recorded nine assists with no turnovers while Mullens bucketed 22 points on sensational five of six shooting from beyond the arc. In the first half, Mullens connected on five three-pointers and tallied 17 points while Akers chipped in with eight markers. During the final two quarters, Akers amassed 17 points with four goals beyond the arc while Mullens added seven points.

The first half was competitive. The second half was not. Nitro tallied the first goal of the contest, a three pointer, to take the early lead. This goal was the hosts only long range basket of contest. The Tigerettes were able to secure the advantage early in the first period and never relinquished the lead. At the half, Princeton held a narrow 29-24 advantage due principally to Mullens' heroics.

The Wildcats made the first goal of the second half to cut the Tigerettes’ lead to 29-26. At this point, it looked as if Princeton was in for a real cat fight. The Tigerettes, however, did not blink and accepted the challenge. From that point, Princeton completely dominated Nitro outscoring their hosts, 35-15.

Aside from Mullens and Akers, other Tigerette scorers were Rachel Surface (with a career high eight points), Khadija Payne (five points), and Stephanie Lambert with four markers. Although Lambert was inactive for the team's first two contests, she made a solid contribution to this victory.

Princeton's rebounding was a key factor in the visitors' success. The Tigerettes overwhelmed the Wildcats on the boards, 52-31. Pacing Princeton outstanding board work were Rachel Surface (16 rebounds, a career high), Khadijah Payne (15 rebounds, a career high) and “Mighty Mite” Mullens with a career high nine rebounds.

Neither team shot well. The Tigerettes only made 33 percent of their attempts from the field while Nitro connected on 27 percent of their shots. Princeton did have a decisive margin in three pointers-nine to one.

Both teams handled the ball well. Nitro had nine turnovers and the Tigerettes committed 10 miscues.

Wildcat Savannah Shamblin led her team in scoring with 13 points-eight below her average.

Overall, the Tigerettes in this game exhibited considerable improvement over their first two contests.

In junior varsity action, the Tigerettes (3-0) swamped their hosts, 62-16. Pacing the attack were Kaleigh Barker (14 points), Alexis Bailey (13 points), and Brittany Moore (12 points). Moore also contributed 10 steals.

•••

On Dec. 18, the Tigerettes hosted the PikeView Lady Panthers, scoring a 68-54 victory, after allowing the Panthers to take a lead into halftime.

“It’s really sweet when you are behind at halftime and you comeback and end up winning,” Princeton head coach Debbie Ball said. “I think both team get up for this game so it kind of throws you out of your game plan. We’re happy with this win.”

The Lady Panthers led by seven when the halftime buzzer sounded, but they clawed their way to the win in the second half.

In the third quarter, PikeView held a 39-35 lead when their lead began to dwindle. Khadija Payne drove to the hoop, then Marissa Mullins hit a three, as Princeton regained the lead.

In the fourth quarter, McKenzie Akers shined, scoring two three-pointers to go along with a put back and drive to the basket, allowing Princeton to open a 53-45 lead.

Akers led the Tigerettes scoring, sinking 35 points, while Mullins tallied 19. Payne and Hannah Preservati each scored five, while Stephanie Lambert and Rachel Surface recorded two points each.

Up next, the Tigerettes are scheduled to host Cabell Midland today.

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