Senior shines for LaGrange
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Callaway had no answer for LaGrange’s Zaria Russell.
Russell, who is enjoying a terrific senior season, knocked down six 3-pointers and scored 25 points to lead LaGrange to a 51-39 over visiting Callaway on Tuesday night.
In the fourth quarter when Callaway made things somewhat interesting by getting within 11, Russell made back-to-back long jump shots to give LaGrange a 50-34 lead.
Russell, who was a part-time player in previous years, has stepped up and led the team in scoring this season.
“As a coaching staff, we knew she was capable of it, although maybe not this fast,” LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said. “She came in, and she took basketball seriously. Her motor never stops.”
It was the second meeting in four days between the two county rivals.
On Saturday, LaGrange traveled to Callaway and came away with a 47-40 victory. In the rematch, LaGrange dominated the first half, surging to a 23-9 lead.
“One of the things we wanted to focus on was, we wanted to play at our tempo,” said Tuck, who encouraged his players push the pace. “I think last time when we went to Callaway, we didn’t play our tempo, especially in the first half. So I think we did a good job. I think we held them to nine points in the first half. We made them play at our tempo.”
LaGrange led by as many as 19 points early in the third period before Callaway found its footing and got within 12 on a Jasmine Dukes jumper.
By the end of the third quarter, LaGrange’s lead was 40-23.
Callaway got as close as 11 in the fourth quarter before Russell knocked down a 3-pointer, and she followed that up with a long jumper to push the lead back to 16 with two minutes left.
Callaway came no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Callaway head coach Deyano Martin liked the fight his team showed in the second half.
“We fought tooth and nail to the end,” Martin said. “The second half, we played a lot better ballgame. We played with a lot of energy. So I’m very proud of the second half.”
While Russell was tops in scoring for LaGrange with 25 points, Chaquave’ayr Robinson added 11 points, and Kamelah Kelley scored six points.
Qua Beasley led Callaway with 11 points, Niakoe Burks scored nine points, and Jasmine Dukes and Kierra Jackson had seven points apiece.
Both teams have road games on Friday.
Callaway opens its Region 5-AA schedule with a game at Lamar County, and LaGrange takes on Whitewater.