Red Devilettes stay on right path

Red Devilettes stay on right path
By KEVIN WEAKS
Messenger Sports
South Fulton’s girls are pulling into the postseason right on schedule. The Red Devil boys, however, were forced to take an unwelcome detour.
SF split with crosstown rival Fulton City on Tuesday night, the Devilettes never challenged in a 60-19 win that saw one of its own make history and the Redmen plagued by poor shooting in a 56-40 loss.
Taleeah Cross became the fifth girls’ player in the 17-year history of the current South Fulton High/Middle School facility to reach 1,000 points, doing so with a putback with 48 seconds to play in the opening period.
The junior guard’s game-high 14 points — 12 coming in the first half — give her 1,009 for her solid prep career.
With Fulton City now out of the way and Hickman County — a team that has surrendered one of Fulton City’s two wins this season — next up on Friday night at the Devils’ den, SF head coach Curt Lee will spend as much time on preparing for the upcoming District 14A Tournament as anything else.
“These games, win or lose, don’t hurt us or help us,” Lee said. “So, what we have to do is focus on some things that will help us against Humboldt on Monday night. Some things that were disappointing were the second shots they were getting and then their easy entries into the post. Those are two areas where Humboldt excels. Now, we get a chance to get in the gym and work on these things we’ve been talking about. In Friday night’s game, hopefully, we’ll be able to execute some things that will help us against Humboldt.”
Devil boys’ skipper Wes Miller, meanwhile, will search for some quick answers between now and the postseason following a night when Fulton City played a game of rebound-and-runout as the Redmen were a paltry 15-of-51 shooting the ball, including 2-of-22 on 3-pointers.
“It depends on how they take it,” Miller said of the meaning behind Tuesday’s loss. “I know it hurts them inside right now, but in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the big thing for us. The big thing is next Tuesday night. We have Friday night against Hickman County, and we have to come out with some fire and get on a nice little roll.”
The girls’ and boys’ district tournaments begin next week with the higher seeds hosting the quarterfinal rounds before play moves to Trenton Peabody for the semifinals and finals.
The SF girls, seeded third, will be at home on Monday against No. 6 Humboldt at 6:30 p.m. The seventh-seeded Redmen will make the short trip Union City to play the No. 2 seed Golden Tornadoes at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
SF 60, Fulton 19 (G)
Cross became part of history in a first quarter where she had plenty of help in putting away the Lady Bulldogs.
She had three field goals in the opening period as the Devilettes built a comfortable 26-2 lead.
“It’s a good benchmark,” Lee said. “She gets to put her name up there with the others in our club. And, she still has another year left and an opportunity to score a lot more points. I’m proud of her for getting that first benchmark and looking forward to seeing her set some more.”
Sydney Easterwood, who finished with 10 points, had a couple of baskets, and Savannah Lawson knocked down a 3-pointer in the period for SF. Kalon Martin, back in the lineup after an illness, converted a 3-point play at the end of the quarter.
“We got a few a turnovers in our press and hit a few shots early, so that’s important — especially this time of year,” Lee said. “We want to get more people involved other than Taleeah and Kalon around the basket. We’re trying to get Cori Jo (Edmison) and others to continue to work on their shooting and get confidence, and it’s only going to help us down the road if we can spread people out and keep them from doubling on Taleeah so much.”
Cross hit a pair of triples in the second period as the Devilettes led by as many as 36 late, and then SF played the second half with its margin in the 30-plus plateau, which resulted in a running clock for the fourth quarter.
Fulton 56, SF 40 (B)
The Redmen trimmed a 10-point gap to just three at the midway point of the fourth quarter, but a basket off a steal and another resulting from a defensive rebound helped Fulton push the lead back to 10 points with 11:31 to play.
The ’Dogs were just 10-of-16 at the free throw line for the night but finished strong by knocking down seven of their last eight in the final minutes.
“They got the tempo, and we couldn’t do anything we wanted to do,” Miller said. “The last time (a 66-59 win Dec. 10), we wore them out by getting them up and down the floor and pressuring them, and we couldn’t pressure them tonight. They were twice as good as the game before. They played unbelievably well, so hat’s off to them. They outplayed us tonight.”
While SF struggled to shoot the ball, Fulton had no such problems by connecting on 22-of-33 field goals. Josh Traylor led all players with 18, while Vance Maze, on the other end of numerous runouts resulting from defensive rebounds, finished with 15. Big post players Khalil Frame (10) and Jordan Miller (9) combined for 19 points.
“What cost us the ballgame was that we could not make a shot from inside five feet,” Miller said of his team’s 29 percent shooting. “If you can’t score inside against a team like that or can’t hit an outside shot to make them come out and guard you, you can’t win. It’s that simple.”
SF trailed by as many as 11 in the third and was behind 43-33 early in the fourth quarter when its fullcourt style began to pay off.
Harrison Hawks hit a 3-pointer, and then Hawks and Tevaris James scored off back-to-back steals, James driving through a two-handed dunk to make it 43-40 at 4:05.
Maze took a steal the other way and followed with a driving basket following a Miller carom on the other end, pushing the margin back to seven at 47-40. Fulton then pulled away at the line, Traylor hitting four times to lead the way. Published in The Messenger 2.8.12

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