The Lakewood Leopards hosted their final home basketball game of the season on Tuesday night as they faced off against the Princeton Bulldogs. The Lady Leopards were unable to overcome a slow start and would fall, 44-30.
With the game being on Senior Night, fans of the Leopards packed the arena in support of their high school team. Unfortunately for the fans, the result was not at all what they were looking for, as sloppy play doomed Lakewood and took the life out of the gymnasium early on.
The Leopards were struggling to fill a void left by two of their starters, Sha’Asia Hamilton and Adia Edwards, after the two were dismissed from the team. Players who did not have much experience beforehand were faced with the challenge of stepping up into new starting roles.
The Bulldogs took full advantage of this void, scoring at will and having their way with the Lady Leopards.
Lakewood kept it tight in the first quarter and managed to keep the game within striking distance as Princeton led 10-7.
The second quarter, however, was a much different story, as Princeton used a 14-3 run to extend their lead to a commanding 24-10 lead at the break. The Leopards were simply unable to generate any offense and were pounded on the inside by the Bulldogs.
The second half included much of the same as the Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a huge 38-15 lead at the end of the third quarter. Princeton milked the clock to ensure a win in the fourth quarter, thus ruining Senior Night festivities with an impressive 44-30 win.
Lady Leopards head coach Vonnie McNeil said her team is trying to adjust to not having the two starters that were lost.
“We’re just adjusting so we’ve got to figure out everything and once we get that, hopefully everything will run smooth,” McNeil stated.
Lakewood falls to 5-13 overall and 3-10 in the conference.
Princeton Bulldogs head coach Paula Wooten spoke highly of the Bulldogs’ defense, but admitted that her team’s offense still needs some tweaking. “Passing has got to be better, as well as blocking out,” Wooten said.
The Bulldogs improve to 17-4 with the win and are now 12-1 in conference play.
For Lakewood, Tamia Rich led the Leopards with 13 points, Sallena Oates had eight points, Kiarye Bailey had seven points, and Aniya Howard wrapped it up with two points. For Princeton, Jazmaine McCain, Jordan Benson, and Emily Ricks all had 10 apiece, Takiria Cummings had five, Madison Adkins had four, Hayden Hinson had three and Megan Bryant added two.
Reach Daron Barefoot at email@example.com.