First Posted: 1/15/2009
FAIRMONT - As an indication of just how badly his team was outplayed on Wednesday night, St. Pauls coach Mike Ratley, when asked if anyone stood out, singled out his team's scorekeeper as the Lady Bulldogs' top performer.
Obviously, it wasn't a good night for the St. Pauls girls basketball team.
Led by senior Monique Floyd's 21 points and an all-around smothering defensive effort, Fairmont, 5-3, rolled to a 60-43 win over the Bulldogs, 2-8, in the opening round of the Robeson County Shootout.
The victory provided a measure of revenge for the Lady Tornadoes, who lost to St. Pauls in three of the last four Shootouts. The team's didn't play in 2004.
“It's been a while since we've beat them in the Shootout, so it was a big win for the girls,” said Fairmont coach Michael Baker. “We've played some real tough teams… so it felt good to come out and get a win like this.”
St. Pauls senior Jasmine Williams scored the game's opening basket to give the Bulldogs their first and only lead of the game, and it was all downhill from there as Fairmont went on a 9-0 run and never looked back.
The Lady Tornadoes forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter, while only giving the ball away twice, as they jumped out to a 12-point lead. In all, St. Pauls turned the ball over 27 times, compared to 17 for Fairmont.
“That's how I like to play,” Baker said of the defensive pressure. “… We forced the issue and I think that helped us out a lot. We scored on offense by forcing them on defense.”
After Fairmont pushed its 20-point halftime lead to 50-20 late in the third quarter, off of a steal and fast-break layup by Floyd, Williams scored five points - including the Lady Bulldogs' only 3-pointer - in a span of 30 seconds to pull within 25. Fairmont's Jasmine Blue responded with the Lady Tornadoes' lone three-pointer, though, to give the Tornadoes a 28-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
“We turned the ball over way too many times to win and our defense was awfully weak,” said Ratley. “They about had their way with us.”
Fairmont junior Shaniah Powell, who had been in a slump over the last two games, scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds in the winning effort. Floyd, who didn't attempt a shot in the fourth quarter, had a game-high seven rebounds.
“Shaniah played a good floor game,” Baker said. “The last couple games she had been struggling and trying to rush things. I think tonight, though, she did a super job of slowing herself down.”
St. Pauls' Carla Pridgen scored seven of her nine points during a 16-3 fourth-quarter run by the Lady Bulldogs to pull within 17, but the deficit proved too much to overcome.
“We're just real young right now and not very good,” said Ratley.