June 6, 2023
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Sudan could not find their rhythm last Friday as they fell to Hale Center 48-41.  

Coming into the game, both Sudan and Hale Center were undefeated in district play at 4-0. On top of that, both teams had convincingly won all of their district games by 10 points or more prior to Friday.  

Both squads understood the stakes. Before the game, Lady Nettes head coach Benny Lockhart told the Herald, “This is going to be an exciting one.”  

Last Friday’s game was gritty as both squads fought tooth and nail for each possession. So much so that offense became secondary and the main focus was seeing who could make more stops defensively.  

“It was a battle for who wanted it more,” Hale Center head coach Alfonso Franklin said.  

The factor that opened the game up offensively, however, was the officiating. Referees called the game very tight and didn’t allow as much contact as either side seemed to expect. As the fouls racked up on both sides, so did the free throw opportunities. In the second half alone, 25 free throws were shot by both sides.  

The fouls affected Sudan’s playstyle as they were forced to back off their full-court pressure in the second half. The officiating slowed the game down, prohibiting Sudan from fully utilizing their speed and aggressiveness on both ends of the court. Shots started to become forced in order to find some sort of groove offensively. 

It didn’t help either that multiple Lady Nettes – Elaine Martinez, Edette Herrea and Gracyn Shultz – all picked up their fourth foul before the start of the fourth quarter.  

The Lady Nettes were able to cut the gap to two with a little over a minute left in the third quarter after trailing by as much as 12 in the first half. Once the fourth quarter hit, however, the Lady Nettes simply started to run out of gas. Lockhart put on a show in the fourth, scoring half of Sudan’s 16 fourth quarter points, but couldn’t find much production outside of her. A three-ball by Hale Center’s Kandace Franklin put Hale Center back up by eight points with a little under three minutes left and that seemed to be the hypothetical dagger in the game.  

“This was a tough one, but we’re going to came back, regroup and be ready for the next challenge ahead,” Lockhart said. 

Lockhart led all scorers with 19 points while also grabbing seven rebounds and two blocked shots. 

Sudan drops to 4-1 in district play, but is still right in the mix for the top spot and a potential district championship. 

Ma'Rico Holland


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