Lady Eagles drop second straight against Starkville Academy

Staff Writer

Hebron Christian finished their back-to-back home-and-home series with Starkville Academy on Monday afternoon.

The game was pushed from its normal tip-off to 4 p.m., in order to not conflict with the College Football Playoff National Championship game.

After a humbling 52-25 loss at Starkville Academy, the Lady Eagles came out much more competitive on their home court, but the end result was no different, as Hebron lost 44-41.

“We’ve been working on playing faster since we played Starkville Academy last week and they blew us out,” Hebron Christian head coach William Cotton said. “I knew that our girls were not that bad. They had a good night the night we played them and we had a bad night.”

After leading 7-5 after the first quarter, the Lady Eagles trailed 20-18 at halftime. Senior Rachael McGrew got off to a good start, scoring an early seven points, until foul trouble forced her to the bench with about three minutes left in the first half.

With McGrew on the bench for the majority of the third quarter, both Micah Thompson and Caralee Smith helped keep Hebron in the game, scoring four points apiece. The Lady Eagles trailed 29-28 after three quarters.

“We handled their 1-3-1 trapping defense much, much better,” Cotton said regarding his team’s progress since last week’s game with Starkville Academy. “We worked against the boys the last three days trying to develop more speed in our offense and defense. That proved to be pretty helpful, I think.”

The Volunteers outscored Hebron 15-13 in the fourth quarter to head back to Starkville with a three-point win. The game was tied at 41 with less than a minute to go, but the Lady Eagles weren’t able to get any of their shots to fall.

“With just a little swing of momentum at the right time, we could have won that ball game, very easily,” Cotton said. “We just could not get an answer to the basket. They hit a basket and a free throw at the end and that put it out of reach for us.”

Starkville Academy’s Mary Peyton Passons led all scorers with 15 points, followed by Lillie Alpe’s 11. McGrew led the Lady Eagles with 11 points, while Smith and McKinsey Wedel each added 10.

Hebron Christian only got two points from its senior leader Eliana Carter on Monday afternoon. Carter went 2-for-2 from the foul line and did not score from the field.

“Eliana is going to have to step up to the plate and give us some senior leadership,” Cotton said. “She missed the first two shots she took and then she didn’t take another. If we had any point production from her, we could’ve won the ball game. But it’s not all her fault, as we missed five layups in the first half.”

The Lady Eagles will go on the road to face Vardaman on Thursday night. Hebron defeated the Rams 47-44 at home in November.