GREENWOOD — The Cleveland High Lady Wildcats had a score to settle here Monday when they tipped off the Region 3-4A Tournament against the Yazoo City Lady Indians.
Cleveland had lost to the Lady Indians in their second meeting of the regular season 48-44 in Cleveland, but on this night the Lady Wildcats had a point to prove and they did so with a dominating 52-28 first round win.
Cleveland is now 10-18 on the year. They will face Raymond at 4 p.m. today in Greenwood in the second round of the tourney. With the win on Monday, the Lady Wildcats are guaranteed a spot in the 4A playoffs.
Cleveland High Head Coach Whitney Williams was very pleased with the way the team came out to play.
“The girls came out with a very intense performance in the first half,” Williams said. “We were able to gain a lead by being aggressive defensively and attacking the basket on offense.”
Williams was also excited about the girls earning a spot in the playoffs and playing in the semifinals of the region tournament.
"I commend the girls for working hard each day,” Williams said. “I know change and adjusting to a new coach can be difficult and we had our rough day. I expressed to them from the beginning that we must first believe in ourselves in order to achieve any goal. They bought in, they trusted me and they trusted God. Both (Antanisha) Wade and (Allena) Griffin have stepped up tremendously and through their efforts the entire team has become better. I am so proud of them all.”
Cleveland came out of the gate clicking on all cylinders scoring the game’s first nine points before Yazoo made a basket for a 9-2 game.
Cleveland continued its dominance in the first quarter with a 14-0 run to end the first quarter with a 24-2 lead.
Senior Allena Griffin made her presence felt in the opening period with 15 points.
“I am pleased with the overall effort from the team. Allena showed a lot of leadership tonight and that really sparked us in the first half,” said Williams.
In today’s matchup with Raymond, Williams is hoping the momentum from Monday’s game carries over to this one.
“If we can come out and play with the same energy on defense and aggression on offense we should be fine. We need to bring that same momentum over to this game with Raymond and throughout the remainder of the tournament,” said Williams.Griffin finished the night with 19 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Antanisha Wade was a force in the paint for the Wildcats with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Calesia Bryant added eight points and eight rebound