By Richard Greene
Playing to stay in the playoff race in District 10-2A, the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets wasted little time jumping on the Paradise Lady Panthers Tuesday.
Boyd opened the game on a 17-2 run and never let Paradise within nine the rest of the way en route to a 43-28 victory at home.
“We were pumped,” said Boyd point guard Chelsea Landes. “We knew what we were playing for.”
The victory moves the Lady Yellowjackets (19-8) to 7-5 in the league. They remain one game back of Tolar for third place. The two will square off Tuesday in Boyd.
Before then, the Lady Yellowjackets face Brock Friday, and Tolar takes on Godley. Tolar could seal third place with a win and a Boyd loss Friday. If both win or lose Friday, Boyd could force a one-game playoff for third place with a win Tuesday.
“We were in the same spot last year against Tolar,” Landes said. “The outcome was not what we wanted.”
Boyd guard Kallie Tyner chipped in: “We hope to change that this year.”
The Lady Yellowjackets used a strong defensive effort to make sure Paradise didn’t knock them out of the playoff chase. Boyd forced 26 Paradise turnovers, including 10 in the first quarter.
“All week, coach [Lynn Cranfill] was telling us defense, defense, defense,” Tyner said. “That’s how we won the first time.”
The Lady Panthers had four turnovers before getting off their first shot attempt, and managed just four field goals in the first half.
“We did this both times against them,” said Paradise coach Eddie Fortenberry. “There’s no reason for it, and I can’t explain it. We’ve just got to stop the stupid mistakes.”
Tyner provided a majority of the Lady Yellowjackets’ offense in the opening run, tossing in 10 of her 14 points in the first quarter. Her layup with just over a minute left in the first quarter put Boyd up 17-2.
Paradise’s Makala Neighbors knocked down a three-pointer to close the first quarter and stop the Boyd run. Paradise closed within nine, 17-8, on a Neighbors free throw with 4:57 remaining in the half.
Boyd mounted a response with a Mackenzie Elkins putback and Abby Harrell three-pointer to stretch the lead back to 14 points, 22-8.
The Lady Yellowjackets led 28-13 at halftime.
Paradise cut down on the turnovers and cracked down on Boyd defensively in the third quarter. The Lady Panthers held the Lady Yellowjackets scoreless over the first five minutes of the second half. Paradise pulled within 10, 28-18, on a Jet Preather basket.
Landes ended the Paradise run drawing a trip to the line, and hitting a pair of free throws. She followed up with a three-pointer and runner down the lane to push the Lady Yellowjackets’ lead back to 15, 35-20.
“Chelsey hit some big shots in the third quarter,” Cranfill said.
Landes finished with 16 points. She went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.
As a team, Boyd went 18-for-21 from the charity stripe. It hit all eight attempts in the final frame.
Makenna Burt led Paradise with 10 points and eight rebounds. Neighbors added seven points.