Taking advantage of an opportunity, the Academics Plus Lady Falcons played some of their best basketball Monday night.
A 68-56 victory over KIPP Delta kept the Lady Falcons (4-20) alive in the 1A-5 district tournament at Morrilton where they met Nemo Vista last night. Academics Plus Coach Ken Holland knows Nemo Vista presented a challenge, but he is under the belief that anything can happen in the district tournament.
Regardless of what the Lady Falcons did against Nemo Vista, Holland was ecstatic about the victory over KIPP Delta and pleased with their performance. He is starting to see vast improvement from the beginning of the season and also noticing the Lady Falcons are playing better as a unit.
"We shot the ball the best I have ever seen," Holland said. "From the beginning of the game, the girls came out and played hard."
Junior guard Lisa Goodwin and sophomore guard Bailey Kirby led Academics Plus with 21 points apiece. Goodwin had to work for her points as KIPP played a box and one on her. Kirby benefitted as she had good looks at the basket after Goodwin would drive and dish out the ball
"Lisa never worked harder than she did (last night)," Holland said. "She worked really hard even without the ball. Kelly (Hough) did a great under the basket and had a crucial rebound and putback that increased our lead from three to five. It was a total team effort."
The Lady Falcons trailed by one after the first quarter and three at the half. The difference was the second half when they kept pressing and were able to go ahead by as many as 14 points. KIPP Delta could never catch up and was done after its leading scorer fouled out.
"When she fouled out we were up by six points, and I knew then we were going to win," Holland said. "She kept them in the game, but I felt like they dismantled after that. We kept in the press, and they were throwing the ball away."
The other thing that pleased Holland was the encouragement and communication at halftime. Holland said he did not have to talk as the girls took it upon themselves to cheer on each other.
"Some of the things I have been saying all year are finally getting across to them," he said. "I am really proud of them."