WARREN — A battle between one of the best teams in 4A girls basketball and one of the best players in the class did not live up to its billing Tuesday night.
Star City scored the game’s first 26 points and held Warren’s Shamiqua Pickett to seven points — 20 points below her average — en route to a 54-24 win in an 8-4A Conference game.
Pickett, a sophomore, didn’t even touch the ball on the offensive end in the first quarter and didn’t attempt her first shot until the 5:25 mark of the second.
Her first basket came with just 3:06 remaining in the first half. Those were also the Lady Jacks’ (5-5, 0-1 in 8-4A) first points of the game.
“Tekelia Walker did a great job guarding her,” said Star City head coach Becky Brown. “She’s our defensive specialist.
“The other girls did a good job helping, too.”
Warren head coach Sandra Hatley was disappointed in her team’s inability to adjust to Star City’s gameplan.
A major part of our offense is No. 25 (Pickett),” Hatley said. “When we couldn’t get it in to her, our game suffered, needless to say.”
Hatley said she wasn’t surprised Star City (12-2, 2-0) was able to play Pickett tough.
“It hadn’t happened until tonight,” Hatley said about Pickett being shut down. “I anticipated what would occur. My guards usually have a better response.
“Tonight was the first time (Pickett) has been totally taken out. But it was more of us allowing Star City’s defense to dictate our offense.”
With Pickett and her teammates struggling to score, the Lady Bulldogs were clicking on all cylinders.
Junior Jaida Harden and senior Lindsay Kiernan scored seven and six points, respectively, in the opening quarter as Star City took an 18-0 lead into the second period.
The Lady Bulldogs increased their lead to 25 points (32-7) heading into halftime.
Warren played Star City nearly even in the third quarter but was still outscored 9-7 in the period as the Lady Bulldogs took a 41-14 lead into the fourth.
“Defensively, we were not very aggressive at all,” Hatley said. “We let Star City’s offense dictate our defense.
“You can’t let that happen.”
Harden, who finished with a game-high 17 points, was one of three Lady Bulldogs to outscore Pickett. Kiernan finished with 12 points, while senior Vanessa Jackson added eight.
Harden, Kiernan and Jackson are all starters, but Brown said she was very pleased with her role players, too.
“I think our role players did a great job,” she said. “That’s very important for us to be able to have them contribute.
“I’m very proud of them.”
Despite adjusting to play a box-and-one defense against Pickett, Brown said Star City’s gameplan didn’t really change.
“Team defense and rebounding,” she said. “That’s our gameplan every night.”
Warren 66, Star City 49
WARREN — The Lumberjacks used a big fourth quarter to pull away from the Bulldogs in an 8-4A Conference game.
Warren led 40-37 entering the fourth before outscoring Star City 26-12 in the final period.
“Our defense and numbers wore them down,” said Warren head coach Jimmy May. “I think that was the difference in the fourth quarter.”
Star City led 13-12 after one quarter and the game was tied 28-28 at halftime.
“We started out a little sluggish,” May said. “Trying a little bit too hard to put the ball in the hole.
“We’re still a little rusty from football season.”
Lafoy Smith led Warren (1-2, 1-0 in 8-4A) with 24 points, Ryan Clary added 18 and Von Eric Gonder finished with 12.
Star City (0-9, 0-2) was led by K.J. Mallett’s and Toney Matthews, who each scored 16 points in the contest. Trevon Jackson added 10 points for the Bulldogs.