• 90°

Demopolis girls win season-opener

Demopolis took a seven-point lead into half and scarcely looked back en route to a 36-29 win over the Greene County Lady Tigers during the John Essex Pre-Thanksgiving Classic in its first game of the 2008-2009 season.

“I’m excited about this team and looking forward to the season,” head coach Tony Pittman said of his squad following the game.

While excited about the win, Pittman emphasized the team’s need to shoot better from the charity stripe. The team’s inability to convert from the line allowed Greene County to keep the game close for the duration.

“That’s something that we’ve been working on since day one,” Pittman said of the emphasis that has been placed on free throw shooting. “There is no way you could have told me coming in that we were going to shoot like that. In this league, if you don’t make free throws, you’re going to lose a lot of close ball games.”

The closest call Demopolis experienced came in the fourth quarter when Greene County cut the deficit to 32-27 with just under four minutes to play on the strength of LaPrecious Naylon’s play.

Demopolis senior Valissa Sams responded by knocking down two clutch free throws to extend the lead back to seven.

“She brings the energy you want as a coach on both ends of the floor,” Pittman said of Sams before commending the senior for stroking the charity shots in a key situation.

Naylon drew the foul at the opposite end of the court on the ensuing possession before hitting two more free throws to cut the lead back to five. The Greene County threat was affectively squelched whne Naylon fouled out soon thereafter. She finished with seven points, six of which were scored in the fourth quarter.

For Demopolis, Sams led the way with 13 points. Her second-half surge included eight points and four rebounds.

Senior Aleshia Reynolds added 10 points, including eight in the first half.

Senior Joshalyn Lawson added five points for Demopolis. Sophomore Kiera Carter scored five points, all in the second half while also snagging five boards after the intermission.

“Kiera is a very versatile player,” Pittman said. “We moved her to the four in the second half.”

Demopolis (1-0), will play again Tuesday, Dec. 2 at Francis Marion.

“A lot of things that I saw tonight are what I expected,” Pittman said. “We’re going to take tomorrow off and come back Friday morning and go back to work.”