It was not a pretty start for the Clarksdale High School girls basketball team in the first round of the playoffs at home Monday night against Leake Central, but they found a way to get the job done when it matters most.
The Lady Wildcats (17-9, 7-3) came from behind to win 57-52 with junior guard Patrice Broomfield’s 20 points leading the way. Clarksdale is at Ripley for the second round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday. Ripley went undefeated in district play.
Clarksdale trailed 14-4 at the end of the first quarter thanks to several turnovers Monday night.
Tameria Daniels got things going in the second quarter with a 3-point field goal to cut Leake Central’s lead to 14-7. Broomfield scored two first quarter points and eight in the second quarter, including a jump shot near the foul line to tie the game at 23-23 at halftime.
“When we were down, just keep playing,” Clarksdale coach Greg Wilson said. “Just stick with the game plan. I thought we had a pretty good game plan coming in of what we wanted to do them and what they were trying to do to us and what they wanted to do to us. We didn’t execute that game plan early on. I thought we made up for it in the second quarter and closed that gap.”
The Lady Wildcats led 39-37 at the end of the third quarter, but Leake Central had a chance to tie things up at the end of the period after being fouled. However, two free throws were missed so Clarksdale maintained its lead going into the fourth quarter.
Wilson praised his athletes for finishing the second and third quarters on positive notes.
“One of your team goals is always to end a quarter or a half strong,” Wilson said. “We’ve been doing that a lot lately ending quarters with good shots and trying to pay attention to the clock as its winding down to execute a good play.”
An Amiyah Fizer 2-pointer on an offensive rebound extended Clarksdale’s lead to 28-23 with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter, but Leake Central answered with a 9-2 run to take a 32-30 lead with 4:03 to play in the period.
Wilson called a timeout and his team was up to the challenge.
“We just talked about executing,” he said. “We just talked about doing what it takes to win, not turning the ball over, blocking out if you want the other person to block out, blocking out and rebounding the ball and executing on what we practiced on doing. When you do those things, good things happen for you. When you don’t do those things, it usually ends up in a loss.”
Clarksdale had five team fouls in the third quarter, while Leake Central had none, but that did not stop the Lady Wildcats.
“I really thought I was the only one in the building that noticed that because no one else said anything,” Wilson said. “We’re at home in a playoff game and we have five fouls and the other team has zero. There’s something kind of wrong with that picture. I thought we got a lot of bumps and touches and jerseys grabbed that were not called, but the girls persevered and came through at the end.”
The district tournament was at Gentry High School in Indianola.
Broomfield scored 28 points in a 57-46 win against Tunica Rosa Fort, while Fizer scored 14 points in a 57-44 loss to Gentry.
The Wildcats won 57-51 in the first round of the playoffs at Leake Central on Tuesday night. They travel to Pontotoc for the second round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.