Lady Pirates experience blowout from both viewpoints

Before the season, if any fan had suggested the first time rivals Drew Central and McGehee met on the basketball court this year neither Cierra Gardner nor Shakyla Begnaud would lead their teams in scoring, he or she might have been laughed out of the conversation.

That’s exactly what happed Tuesday night, though, as the Lady Owls continued their mastery of the Lady Pirates by a 68-39 final score at McGehee. Drew Central’s Gardner and McGehee’s Begnaud, two of the best girls’ basketball players in Arkansas regardless of classification, got their points alright but it was their teammates who shouldered the brunt of the scoring burden.

Begnaud topped Gardner by one point in scoring (11-10) but it was her senior classmate, India Lattimore, who paced McGehee in that category. Lattimore scored a game-high 20 points.

Sophomore Amaya Partman led Drew Central with 11 points and became the first Lady Pirate to top Gardner in scoring in a 2015-16 game in which she played. The Drew Central senior now has 1,861 points in her four-year Lady Pirate career.

Actually, Drew Central was hanging with McGehee through at least three quarters Tuesday. The Lady Owls had been steadily building on a 12-10 advantage after the first eight minutes but left little doubt as to the outcome of the game with a 24-9 explosion in the final period.

“We just didn’t execute in the second half and got away from our game plan,” said Drew Central girls’ coach Michael Goad, whose squad dropped to 11-6 on the season and  2-1 in Class 3A, District 8.   

Besides Lattimore and Begnaud, two more McGehee players reached double figures. Junior A.J. Wynne tied Begnaud on Lady Owl scoring charts with 11 and senior Latrice Clark chipped in with 10. Those four McGehee double-figures scorers were just one less than Drew Central had score in the game at all.

Last Friday, however, the Lady Pirates flexed their collective muscles at Lake Village Lakeside, taking an easy 60-27 victory. After a tight first quarter where Drew Central led only 18-13, the Lady Pirates—still one of the teams to beat in 8-3A—didn’t allow Lakeside more than six points in any period.

“We played better defense the second half and really started to work together,” Goad noted of the win at Lakeside. “I’m proud of their effort.”

Drew Central salted that win away by outscoring the Lady Beavers 32-8 after intermission, including a dominating 18-3 performance in the third quarter.  Gardner and senior teammate Payton Boykin both scored 16 points to lead the Lady Pirates over Lake Village.

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