Lady Rams lose to Palatka
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.
Poor free throw shooting and rebounding prevented the Eastside High School Lady Rams basketball team from winning the District 6-5A championship.
The Lady Rams (12-11) lost to Palatka 35-30 in the district tournament championship game Friday night at Eastside and will have to travel to Creekside High School in St. John’s County at 7 p.m. Thursday for the Florida High School Athletic Association state playoff regional quarterfinal game.
The district championship game marked the third time the Lady Rams lost to Palatka this year, but first-year Eastside coach Lance Radford said he is confident his team will get pass Creekside.
If the Lady Rams beat Creekside and Palatka beats Bartram Tail of St. John’s County Thursday night in Palatka, Eastside will travel to Palatka to play the Panthers at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a regional semifinal game. Rams coach Radford said he likes his chances in a fourth game this season against Palatka, the No. 3 ranked team in Class 5A.
The Lady Rams lost to Palatka 39-36 at home on Dec. 11 and 68-56 on Jan. 10 in Palatka.
“I think the girls are motivated for the playoffs, and I told them I fully expect to meet Palatka again,” Radford said. “We fully expect to get by next week (Thursday at Creekside), and we’re going in with the attitude that we are going to win that game and meet up with Palatka again.”
Radford said the difference in the district championship game was poor free-throw shooting by the Lady Rams and poor rebounding.
“I think we had five missed free throws in the first half, and it was a four- or five-point game at halftime,” Radford said. “It changed the whole dynamics and it’s something we stress and talk about all of the time.”
He said the team shoots “a ton of free throws” in practice daily, whether the team is tired or not. He said the positive thing is that the team’s problems are things they can fix.
“The best thing about it is that these are things we can control and get better at,” Radford said. “If we block out and rebound and make our free throws, we would have won this game. We talked about it before the game, at halftime and during timeouts.”
Senior Tiara Lundy led the Lady Rams with 15 points and Desa’rai Shaw led the Panthers with 17 points.
Lundy was the only consistent offensive threat for the Lady Rams, who kept the score close most of the game with great defense. They were down 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, 19-15 at halftime and 27-22 at the end of the third quarter. Palatka had its largest lead of the game at 32-23 with 3:18 left in the game after Shaw sank a pair of free throws.
Radford said the Lady Rams can make a run in the playoffs if they shoot better from the floor and the free-throw line, rebound better and maintain their defensive intensity.
“If we continue to play defense like we did tonight, we can stop a lot of people, and I’m confident in the girls offensively,” he said.