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WIN PULLS LADY DEVILS INTO FIRST-PLACE TIE IN LEAGUE PLAY

Win pulls Lady Devils into first-place tie in league play

BILLY WOODS

WM School District | 2/21/2020

PHOTO CREDIT: West Memphis High School Athletics

The West Memphis Lady Devils moved into a tie for first place in the 5A-East Conference standings after their 54-34 win at home over Paragould Friday night and Mountain Home's 51-44 upset win at Nettleton.

Both West Memphis (21-5 overall) and Nettleton have 10-2 league records. The Lady Devils have a road game at Greene County Tech on Tuesday and a home game on Friday against Mountain Home, which is one game behind the Lady Devils and Nettleton with a 9-3 record.

Nettleton has two road games left, at Jonesboro and Searcy this week.

In case of a tie for the conference championship, Nettleton has the tie-breaking edge over West Memphis due to its two wins over the Lady Devils.

"It's possible we could get the help we need," said Lady Devils head coach Shelia Burns. "We like the position we're in right now. We've got two big games left that we have to win."

Although the Lady Devils never trailed in the game and it never felt like their hold on the game was in jeopardy, they never broke away from Paragould (8-15, 4-8) until the fourth quarter.

West Memphis freshman guard Janiyah Tucker scored the game's first eight points and senior Aryah Hazley added another bucket to give the Lady Devils an early 10-0 cushion.

But Paragould inched its way back into the game;

The hosts led just 23-18 at halftime.

Six straight points early in the third quarter by Aniyah Dean, Jamee Gholson and Hazley made it 29-20, but the Lady Rams cut to 34-28 by the end of the third quarter.

The decisive fourth quarter was powered by a 14-2 run to open the fourth quarter that saw all West Memphis' points come from Hazley and Tucker with the exception of a basket from senior center Tiera Bradley.

The spurt gave the hosts a 48-30 lead with 3:06 left in the game.

Hazley and Tucker combined for 36 of West Memphis' 54 points with Hazley leading all scorers with 21 and Tucker going for 15.

"Aryah has wanted the mindset of I'll set up the rest of the team to score unless they need her to score," said Burns. "I said, 'No, no. If you have the shot you make sure you take it.' We need Aryah to score for us to win."

Bradley added 6 points for West Memphis, which shot 45 percent from the floor on 21 of 47 shooting and 3 of 11 from the three-point arc on 3 for 11.

The Lady Devil defense forced 21 Paragould turnovers while the hosts committed only 13. West Memphis won the rebounding chart 20-11.

Alex Branguard led Paragould with 17 points while Blythe Benefield scored 6.
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