The Duncan Banner
Apparently, the No. 24 Walters Lady Blue Devils didn’t get the memo that senior night was supposed to be a joyous occasion.
A rough first quarter was just the start of the Empire Lady Bulldogs problems on senior night as the Lady Blue Devils sank six three-pointers on the evening and eventually walked away with a convincing 66-38 victory.
“It’s the fact that they (Walters) stayed solid the entire game and we broke down defensively,” Empire guard Alyssa George said. “We pride ourselves on our defense and we just didn’t bring it tonight. Finding our girls and rebounding were things we struggled with, and we pride ourselves on doing those things right.”
It looked as though the Lady Bulldogs would be in for a fight early on as they trailed by one point at 4-3 with 5:27 left in the first quarter.
However, by the time the second quarter rolled around Empire was staring at a 17-8 deficit that only got bigger as the half went on.
“Walters’ work ethic is tremendous,” Empire coach Jason Allensworth said. “They don’t take any breaks on the court. They’ll go 100 percent of the time whether its rebounding, offense or defense. They just outworked us tonight. I was really wanting leadership to step forward and lead us offensively. Obviously that didn’t happen and it showed.”
Seven points was as close as the Lady Bulldogs got in the second quarter at 25-18, before going into the halftime break down 31-19.
Walters wasted little time in putting the game away in the third quarter as the Lady Blue Devils led 54-29 with three quarters complete.
Senior Ashlie Atkinson scored nine points in her final home game as a Lady Bulldog, with fellow senior Alyssa George putting in six points on the night. Seniors Marissa Curtis and Lakota Elliot also saw playing time in the game as well.
“I’m going to miss my team more than anything,” George said. “Throughout these four years they have been my family. I wake up every morning ready to practice and see my girls. Coach Allensworth is one of the best coaches I have ever had. He’s really patient with us and you can just tell he cares about us.”
Melaina Yearby added eight points for the Lady Bulldogs (13-9), with Sherre Dewey putting in six points. Kaelyn Allensworth scored five points, with McKenna Collins adding four points.
Walters (16-7) was led by Olivia Potter with 22 points followed by Madisyn Abbe with 18 points. Chelby Mansel scored 15 points, with Cassidy Johnson putting in six points.
The Lady Bulldogs will begin their playoff journey Friday night at Wilson when they take on the Lady Eagles with tip-off scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.