Sterlington Lady Panthers Roundup

Opening District 2-2A girls basketball play at home Friday night, Sterlington takes on Ferriday at 6 p.m.

Sterlington (11-8) is looking to regroup after its most recent outing, a 52-33 loss at Kilbourne on Thursday, Dec. 30.

“It was one of those holiday games and we played like we had eaten way too much turkey and dressing,” Lady Panthers' coach Darlene Eubanks said. “We were extremely sluggish.”

Sterlington had been on a roll, winning eight of nine prior to the trip to West Carroll Parish, including a 35-21 homecourt victory over Kilbourne on Dec. 14.

Ferriday (5-7), meanwhile, has put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The Lady Trojans defeated New Living Word 51-48 and Sicily Island 63-18 in the Sicily Island Tournament.

Point guard Sha'Keria Kelly and Jada Griggs, both of whom earned All-District accolades last season, are back for the Lady Trojans.

“Kelly scored 32 points against us at their place last year,” Eubanks said. “She's a team by herself.”

In addition to Kelly and Griggs, the Lady Panthers must account for freshman D'Asia Mitchell, who scored a team-high 15 points against NLW.

“We've been working on our defense this week,” Eubanks said. “We realize we have to play extremely good defense and, hopefully, create some points. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot. We have to take control from the beginning and play smart at the end.”

Eubanks is concerned about Ferriday's quickness.

“Height-wise, we pretty much match up with them,” Eubanks said, “but they have several good outside shooters and they have the ability to take the ball inside.”

Despite the loss to Kilbourne, the Lady Panthers closed out pre-district play by winning 10 of 13 after a 1-5 start.

Cameron Owens and Taylor Akharume have given the Lady Panthers an added element off the bench.

“Cameron Owens and Taylor Akharume helped us out tremendously during the Jena Tournament,” Eubanks said.

Eubanks says both players understand their roles.

“Taylor has been been an asset defensively with her quickness and is becoming more of a scoring threat. She can shoot the eight-footer and get some steals and layups,” Eubanks said. “Cameron can score off the drive and floater and has also helped us handling the ball.

“They know their jobs. If they miss a shot they know they were supposed to take, so what.”

Sterlington will compete in a pair of junior varsity tournaments over the next three weeks, going to West Ouachita on Saturday, before hosting the Holtzclaw Photography Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 18. On the following Saturday (Jan. 25), the Lady Panthers will take part in the Choudrant Tournament.

“The JV tournaments allows the kids to get some playing time, plus it gives the parents who work during the week a chance to see their kids play on Saturday,” Eubanks said.

Resuming district play next week with a two-game road swing, the varsity Lady Panthers go to Oak Grove on Tuesday, Jan. 14 and visit Jonesboro-Hodge on Friday, Jan. 17.