By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
KISMET – It was a set of surreal scenes Friday night at Southwestern Heights when they hosted the Syracuse Lady Bulldogs. Syracuse took an early 6-2 lead by causing turnovers and controlling the tempo of the game. But the tides changes and Southwestern Heights held Syracuse without a field goal for 20 minutes winning easily, 55-24.
“We’ve had back to back slow starts,” said Lady Mustangs coach Barry Mellen. “Probably several factors; everyone thinking about Christmas break, and we don’t get mentally ready. But Syracuse had a lot to do with our slow start. Their defense was scrambling, and took away our inside game and made us hesitant.”
Syracuse took the fight to the Lady Mustangs early, and even when Heights tied the game at eight two minutes into the second quarter, Heights point guard and leading scorer, Rebi Jacobs, was hit with her third foul. But thirty seconds later Chloe Coats (6 points) scored to put the Mustangs up for good as they went on a 20-1 run in the second quarter. Rachel Stout scored seven of her 11 in the second quarter, and Heights led 27-9 at half.
“They all kind of understand if somebody gets in foul trouble they all have to step up, and we did a good job with that.” said Mellen. “Whitney took over the point and did a good job.”
The Lady Mustangs continued to add to their lead in the third quarter and Syracuse still could not find the bottom of the net, finishing the third quarter just like the second – without a field goal. Sheree Ryan scored 6 of her game-high 12 in the third, and Heights headed to the fourth quarter with a commanding 42-10 lead.
Jacobs led off the fourth quarter with her second three of the game, and finished with seven-point even though her playing time was limited by foul trouble. Syracuse was able to break the scoring curse with 7:26 left in the game, trailing by 35. The Lady Bulldogs scored more points in the fourth than they had scored in the three previous quarters combined.
Heights heads into the Christmas break a perfect 6-0, but Coach Mellen wants to keep his team from getting complacent.
“We have to have the mentality when we come back like we are 0-6 instead of 6-0,” said Mellen. “We need to have a sense of urgency.”