Fly like a (Lady) Eagle

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2006

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
Second half surge rallies WSN girls past Georgiana
What they did was not necessarily anything different. The way they executed was a much different story.
Georgiana wilted under W.S. Neal's full-court pressure in the second half and the Lady Blue Eagles used a dramatic turnaround to post a 51-31 win in their season opener Monday.
The Lady Panthers, who led the entire first half, matched their biggest lead of the game when Aleshia Cheatham's three-point play gave Georgiana (1-2) a 21-14 lead 30 seconds into the second half.
W.S. Neal made that lead disappear over the next minute and by the end of the quarter the Lady Eagles had flown out of Georgiana's reach.
Senior Tierra Andrews and freshman Freida Folmar provided the defensive and offensive spark that got W.S. Neal going.
Andrews started a 23-4 run in the third quarter with a baseline jumper and then scored again after a steal by Folmar.
Moments later the duo worked the opposite way, as Andrews came up with two steals that led to two baskets by Folmar. Andrews, who fired in 14 points of the game, had eight of those during a 12-0 run that turned the 21-14 deficit into a 26-21 lead.
Then it was sophomore Katie Elliott's turn to light W.S. Neal's fire. Elliott, who led the Lady Blue Eagles with 15 points, was scoreless until the halfway point of the third quarter when she hit two three-pointers from the corner and converted a three-point play in a 70-second span that gave W.S. Neal a double-digit lead of 35-25.
Elliott's three-point play started a decisive 13-0 run that carried over into the fourth quarter. Elliott had two more field goals in that run and so did Folmar, as the Lady Blue Eagles suddenly had a 20-point lead of 45-25.
Georgiana committed 12-second half turnovers, mostly against W.S. Neal's press after it had just seven in the first half. The Lady Blue Eagles' defense did more than change the complexion of the game. It shut down Georgiana forward Patrice Cheatham. Cheatham burned W.S. Neal's defense for 11 first half points, but was held scoreless in the second half.
Sixteen first half turnovers kept W.S. Neal's offense in a sluggish mode in the first half.
The Lady Blue Eagles managed just two field goals, a hoop from just inside three-point land by Ashley Alexander and a three-pointer by Folmar, in the opening quarter.
Georgiana used a pair of field goals by Patrice Cheatham and a bucket and two free throws by Tomaya Peterson to take a 10-6 lead. The Lady Panthers stretched that cushion to a first half high of 18-11 when Patrice Cheatham scored from inside the lane with 2:34 left in the half.
The Lady Blue Eagles got a free throw by Andrews and a basket by Folmar in the final two minutes of the first half that narrowed the gap to 18-14 by halftime.
W.S. Neal, which played at Red Level Tuesday, is also on the road Thursday when it travels to Flomaton for a 5:30 p.m. contest.
At W.S. Neal
Georgiana 10 8 7 6 - 31
W.S. Neal 6 8 23 14 - 51
GEORGIANA (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) P. Cheatham 5-0-1-11; A. Cheatham 2-0-2-6; Peterson 2-0-2-6; Betts 2-0-0-4; Mathews 1-0-1-3; Mobley 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 12-0-7-31)
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Elliott 3-2-3-15; Andrews 6-02-14; Folmar 4-1-0-11; Smith 3-0-1-7; Alexander 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 18-3-6-51)