By the second period, decisions to press Heidelberg the length of the court were paying off. The South Jones girls basketball team, led by first-year head coach Jay Stafford, dialed up several minutes of full-court presses in the early going, which then led to a 9-0 run late in the second period. South Jones continued to build a lead in the second half, defeating Heidelberg 68-44 Tuesday night in Ellisville.
“Full court press is what we’ve tried to hang our hat on,” said Stafford. “We used our bench, and we got another girl back tonight from [an injury]. The more we can play, the better we’ll be up-and-down the court pressing.
“When you have Ebony Fulford and 'Nini' Gammage pushing the break, we’re hard to beat.”
Gammage led all scorers in the contest with 22 points. Half of her points (11) came in the second period.
“She’s averaging 25 points a game just six games into the season,” said Stafford. “She makes us go. A lot of people try to stop her, but it’s hard covering her one-on-one. Some teams even try to double-team her. When she gets involved, and she’s making her shots, it’s hard to get up-and-down with her.”
In a game almost void of points behind the arch, senior shooting guard Lala McGilberry drained consecutive three-point baskets to kick off the third period. Her two three's pushed the Lady Braves to a 21-point lead, 37-16. After a Heidelberg basket moments later, teammate and eighth-grade guard Shannon Morgan followed suit with a basket behind the arc.
"McGilberry got hot there for a minute," said Stafford. "I saw her make the first one, so I called a play for her to shot the second one, and she made it. When someone like her gets the hot hand, you have to keep feeding them the ball."
McGilberry finished with 10 points, eight of which came in the third period. The senior guard was the only other Lady Brave to tally double-digits. Six other players contributed points in the single digits.
South Jones improves to 5-2 on the season. Heidelberg falls to 3-4.