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The Fike High varsity girls basketball team was warned to be ready for undefeated Farmville Central’s full-court pressure.
Either the Lady Demons were not ready or they underestimated the furor and intensity of the opposing attack in Farmville Central’s 68-35 romp in the Fike High gym Tuesday evening.
The Lady Jaguars, ranked No. 11 among the state’s 2-A teams by MaxPreps, stormed to a 16-2 start in notching their sixth win and dealing Fike of the 3-A Big East Conference its second straight loss and its third overall against five wins.
The Lady Demons test another rival from the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference in archrival Beddingfield at home Wednesday evening.
In Farmville Central, Fike may have encountered the talent-laden team that rules the Eastern Plains. The Lady Jaguars registered 24 steals, claimed 32 rebounds and were extremely efficient in converting layups. Chances were numerous because of the steals and the fact Fike committed 30-plus turnovers.
“They’re a good team,” Fike head coach Jeff Nelson said of Farmville Central. “They thrive on pressure defense; they possess length and speed, and that’s a good combination to have when you are a pressing team.
“We told the girls what they were going to do, but we just didn’t handle it the way we wanted.”
Of deploying full-court, man-to-man pressure, Lady Jaguars head coach Hollis Harper reacted: “That’s all I do is press. If I get beat, I get beat.”
Ahead 35-9 at halftime, the Lady Jaguars relaxed the pressure the final two quarters. Fike trimmed its turnovers to 12 after committing more than twice the number of turnovers as compared to points in the first half.
“I treat every game like it’s 0-0 in the second half,” Harper insisted. “We just tried to work another defense; we want to be able to execute another defense.”
Fike finally ended the Lady Jaguars’ first-quarter run on Ku’Shiyan Williams’ three-point play. But sophomore Kirsten Barrett’s bucket at the buzzer staked Farmville Central to an 18-5 margin.
Substituting at will, the Lady Jaguars, ahead 24-9, ended the first half with a 11-0 tear.
Fike stayed with Farmville Central the first two minutes of the second half, but trailed 50-18 late in the third quarter. The Lady Jaguars’ biggest lead was 68-30 when freshman JaNya Willoughby scored off a steal.
Fike’s 6-foot-3 senior Ashleigh Sage found herself hounded by the likes of 6-foot junior Ja’Shynah Carmon, 6-1 freshman Anniya Joyner, Foskey, 5-11 sophomore Lauryn Pitt, 6-0 senior Diantynese Williams and 5-11 junior Raynena Staton.
“Ashleigh, at times, held her own,” Nelson contended.”But she can only box out one person. Having two or three coming at you wears you down.”
Sage paced Fike with 10 points and Williams netted nine.
Sophomore Jordan Joyner tossed in a game-high 15 points for the Lady Jaguars. Junior Rynya Speight bucketed 10 and Foskey nine. Anniya Joyner grabbed eight rebounds and Foskey six.
“I felt good about the way we played,” Harper assessed. “We have just got to work on a lot of other things.”
FARMVILLE CENTRAL (68)
Joyner 15, Pitt 3, A. Joyner 8, Speight 10, Shepard 3, Duncan 2, Williams, Staton, Foskey 9, Willoughby 5. Carmon 6, Barrett 6, May 5.
Harris 2, Ortiz 3, Secrest 3, Everette, Lamm 3, Artis. William 9, Barbee, Pernell 3, Sage 10, Wright.
Score by quarters:
Farmville Cent. 18 17 17 16 — 68
Fike 5 4 15 11 — 35