The Ware Shoals High School girls basketball team caught Ninety Six off guard in the first quarter, outhustling the Wildcats and thwarting their offense with a strict man-to-man defense. Halfway through the first quarter, the Hornets trailed just 10-7, a far cry from the 41-3 deficit after three quarters in the first matchup on Dec. 3.
Ninety Six, though, finally got into a rhythm and pulled away from the Hornets. Led by DaQuasha Williams, Garrielle Mingo and Ciarra Hodge, the Wildcats ended the first on a 13-1 run and continued to pour it on in the last three quarters to win 65-28.
"Overall, I think we did well," Ninety Six coach Anarie Duckett said. "Any time you score 65 points, you've done something well on offense. But Ware Shoals hustled. They worked hard. They're young, so if they keep working as hard as they're working, they'll get to be a pretty good basketball team."
Ware Shoals' man defense was an unfamiliar sight for Ninety Six in the opening quarter. While some teams have employed a man scheme at times against the Wildcats, most teams drop into a zone and force Ninety Six to beat them from outside.
But the Hornets dogged the Wildcats in a man defense from the opening tip, and it worked early. Ninety Six resorted to getting buckets off one-on-one plays rather than running any type of offense, and the Hornets were able to hang with them.
When Tee Abney drilled her first 3-pointer of the game nearly halfway through the opening quarter, the Hornets had cut the lead to 10-7.
The Wildcats soon woke up, though. Getting the ball down on the blocks, Williams and Hodge bludgeoned the smaller Hornets, scoring six points a piece in the first. And Mingo did damage slashing into the lane and from behind the arc, scoring nine points to lead Ninety Six.
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