Salter, Rattlers take down Raiders

Salter, Rattlers take down Raiders


Salter, Rattlers take down Raiders


The regular season is preparation for the postseason.

That is FAMU High girls basketball coach Ahmad Aliyy’s philosophy, so periods of sub-par performance during a game are hardly worth sounding alarm bells.

And as it stands, the two-time defending Class 2A champion Rattlers still know how to win even with new players and absent stars.

Battle-tested FAMU High, without Mississippi State commit Lakaris Salter, built a 12-1 lead and withstood 5A state semifinalist Rickards’ comeback run to take down the Raiders 47-39 on Friday night.

“Basketball is a game of runs, and sometimes in there, our girls don’t run what we want them to run,” Aliyy said. “They get a little emotional about the game instead of keeping their composure. Once we started to run what we wanted to run and they did what we wanted them to do, we were OK.”

Rickards (7-5) struggled its way to a one-point first quarter, though FAMU High (8-4) hardly took advantage, picking up six of its eight points from Jazmine Jones.

The lead was stretched until a Rickards timeout and three assistant coaches lit a fire under the Raiders’ players. Head coach Chariya Davis, sitting quietly while ill, endured the lack of player aggressiveness if only because her body wouldn’t allow for emotion.

“Inconsistency, and that’s been our problem,” said Davis. “I think by January we’ll have it all together. This team is making steps, but we’re still trying to figure out our identity each night we’re on the court.”

Rickards stormed back with a 17-point second quarter, picking up 11 of Shannon Owen’s team-high 16 points in the period which cut FAMU High’s lead to two at halftime.

Gabrielle Figgers’ 3-pointer gave the Raiders a brief one-point lead in the third quarter, but the Rattlers put together a 12-0 run behind Jones to retake control. The versatile sophomore scored 24 on the night, while point guard JaNiya McNealy chipped in with 11 points and RayGene Garner added 10.

“I thought for the most part we played hard and disciplined, but we’re still working on that,” Aliyy said. “But I can’t be more proud of these girls, playing hard and putting it on the line.”

FAMU High, which has beaten the top team in 4A this year and played two nationally ranked opponents, opted not to play its stifling full-court trap.

“We went full-court man-to-man defense,” Aliyy said. “We wanted to work on it, and we’re not a bad man team. We thought they’d be ready for us in terms of zone because we do zone press a lot. I think what happened, in terms of that run, we got a little tired.”

And that just lends itself to another teaching and training moment in anticipation of another long playoff run.

“This is one of the tougher schedules we’ve played in terms of competition,” Aliyy added, “and it’s just going to help us.”


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