Hot Wildcats win fifth straight game
Petty follows standout night against league foe Baldwin with clutch performance in Louisburg Girls Invitational
For the second game in a row, Amy Petty illustrated what it means to be a big-time player.
The senior guard, who scored 30 points against Baldwin last week, scored 10 points in the third quarter against Belton to lead the Wildcats to a 50-32 win in the first round of the Louisburg Invitational Girls Basketball Tournament.
"She took over the game for about a three- or four-minute stretch," Wildcat coach Dwight Spencer said. "I hope she's hitting a stride. She is capable of doing it night after night. We need that from her."
The scary thing is Petty wasn't shooting very well from the 3-point line. Spencer estimated the senior made just 1-of-5 long-range attempts. Petty made up for her lack of accuracy by getting key steals and layups.
She also connected on 8-of-10 free throws, including 6-of-6 in the third frame when the Wildcats stretched a 22-18 halftime advantage into a 38-21 lead.
"She made some nice plays," Spencer said. "She played aggressive basketball and looked to score."
Spencer wasn't completely happy with Monday's turn of events. Although his team won by 18 points, the head coach said it could have been worse.
"If we had played like we did against Baldwin, we may have won by 40 points," he said. "I thought we came out flat. We didn't play like the better team."
Spencer said although the Wildcats did a good job of playing pressure defense, they allowed Belton to get too many offensive rebounds.
"They struggled to get into their half-court offense," he said. "When we trapped, we did pretty well. But once they did get into their offense, we let them make cuts and they beat us off of the dribble."
Belton, 0-14, surprised De Soto by taking a 10-9 advantage after the first period. But the Wildcats took the lead for good in the second period as De Soto took a 22-18 advantage at halftime.
De Soto (7-3), who is on a five-game winning streak, outscored Belton 16-3 in the deciding third period, taking a 38-21 lead into the fourth period.
Against Baldwin last Thursday, Petty rebounded from a disappointing outing against Mill Valley. In the process, she made her coach look like a prophet.
"I told her after the (Mill Valley) game, 'You have a habit of bouncing back'" Spencer said. "I didn't expect this, but I'll take it."
In the first quarter, Petty could do no wrong. At one point she scored four baskets in a row via smooth layups and jumpers.
With 2:46 to go in the quarter, Baldwin coach Eric Toot had seen enough, but Petty's shooting wasn't his main grievance.
He was livid because of the Bulldogs' lethargic rebounding effort after De Soto grabbed five consecutive offensive rebounds.
"First half, we just didn't have enough energy, and that shows up on the defensive boards," Toot said.
After outscoring the Bulldogs 20-9 in the first quarter, the Wildcats took a 33-20 lead into halftime. Spencer called the first half "our best basketball of the year."