WHITE HALL — White Hall’s Jae’Lisa Allen had as many points as she had fouls at halftime of Monday’s girls basketball game at White Hall High School.
The senior standout picked up two first-quarter fouls and was forced to watch the second quarter from the bench. After halftime, though, Allen came out on fire.
She scored her team’s first 12 points of the second half as White Hall, which led just 29-23 at the break, ran away from Stuttgart for a 61-33 win.
“Once Jae’ got back out there, we did a great job of getting her the ball on the block,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Mike Upshaw.
Allen started her run with back-to-back traditional three-point plays on White Hall’s (2-2) first two possessions. She then connected on her next three shots giving her 12 second-half points in just under 3 minutes. Allen went on to finish with a game-high 18 points.
On the other side, Stuttgart (3-1) was never really able to recover from Allen’s outburst. Stuttgart was outscored 24-4 in the third quarter on its way to scoring just 10 second-half points.
“We were trying to do different things defensively against her,” Lady Ricebirds head coach Kris DeJarnette said of trying to stop Allen. “We tried double-teaming her (and) we tried having a guard come down and double.
“But nothing really worked, she was kind of in the zone.”
Despite Allen’s slow start, White Hall got over to a good start. The Lady Bulldogs led 18-8 after the first quarter thanks in large part to their press.
“I thought that was big for us,” Upshaw said about the success of the press. “We were able to score, which allowed us to get into our press and we were able to force some turnovers out of it and convert those turnovers into points.
“It was important that we got off to a quick start.”
When Stuttgart forced White Hall to play a half-court game, Lady Bulldogs senior Lindsey Williams was the benefactor. The 5-foot-9 guard scored six points in each of the first two quarters connecting on long jump shots.
“That’s something that we’ve stressed,” Upshaw said about the outside shooting. “It’s about having confidence and letting it fly.
“And that’s what Lindsey did, tonight.”
With Allen saddled with her two fouls, the Lady Ricebirds looked to take advantage in the second quarter. Stuttgart looked to turn the tables with a press of its own.
“Pressing is not really our forte,” Dejarnette said. “But we got down there and I thought we needed to do something to get back in the game.”
For the most part, it worked. Stuttgart outscored White Hall 15-11 in the second quarter to trim its halftime deficit to six. Jayda Williams, who finished with a team-high 11 points, scored nine in the quarter.
With his star player out, Upshaw was proud of the way his team responded to the adversity.
“Even with Jae’ on the bench, we had a couple of times where we had a chance to extend the lead to 10,” Upshaw said. “They kept battling back, though.
“We kind of just weathered the storm.”
White Hall senior Hailey Wilkins chipped in 12 points, including going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Stuttgart’s Tiffany Gipson and Shacara Humbert each finished with eight points.
Both teams now head into the Thanksgiving holiday break.
“This is a good way to head into our break having won two games in a row,” Upshaw said. “We’re going to eat some turkey and eat some stuffing and enjoy it.”