Laurel easily defeats Wise -- Gazette.Net Photos from Tuesday's game

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Megan Brown recorded a double-double to lead the Laurel High School girls basketball team to a 67-37 victory over host Henry A. Wise on Tuesday. Brown scored 26 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, as the Spartans snapped a four-game losing streak.

“She is our height, but she's only [5-foot-8],” Laurel coach Thomas Harrison said. “She's playing the five, but she's really a three. She had a great night. She actually averages close to that in rebounds. She is very unselfish. She does whatever it takes for the team to win, and that's what I'm proud of about Megan.”

Brown propelled the Spartans (8-7 overall, 7-5 PG 4A) to an early 8-0 lead by converting her first three field goal attempts. Laurel built a 34-21 lead by halftime, paced by 12 points from Brown and nine points from Keyonna Williams. Williams also finished with a game-high six assists, as the Spartans ball movement led to easy baskets on offense.

“That is something we do,” Brown said. “We believe, with only seven people, we need to work on teamwork, so that is the main thing we do on the floor. This game we did a lot of passing because [the Pumas] were very quick, so they got to your passes quickly. The passing helped us score, and that is how we got that 30-point lead.”

On defense, Laurel mainly deployed a trapping zone press that gave the Wise ball handlers fits throughout the contest. The Spartans recorded 10 steals in the game and forced 21 turnovers. Williams led the defense with four takeaways, while Brown contributed three. Harrison said the focus of the press was to keep the ball away from the Pumas dangerous guard, Charnell Ferguson.

“It was a press, but it was also about keeping the ball out of number 14's hands,” he said. “I knew once she got the ball, she could do a lot of damage — which she did.”

Ferguson led the Wise attack with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jasmine Jackson and Niani Hartwell added five points apiece for the Pumas (4-6, 4-6).

The up-tempo pace dictated by the Laurel defense had another advantage besides forcing turnovers — it also forced Wise into some questionable shots. The Pumas finished the contest 14-of-59 from the field, including 3-for-19 from 3-point territory.

“We have got to have better shot selection, and we have to handle the pressure better,” Wise coach Walter Clark said. “People are going to pressure you until you prove you can handle it. The way you get them to call it off ... is you attack it.”

Harrison hopes that his small but scrappy team can carry over some of the momentum from this win to the remaining games on the schedule, and on into the playoffs.

“The one thing on this team — I call them the Magnificent Seven because there is only seven of them — each one of them has a role, but they know their role,” he said. “They play their role to a T, and tonight, especially in the first half, they played it very well. They played unselfish basketball.”

Laurel 67, Wise 37

Laurel (8-7, 7-5) 19 15 20 13 — 67

Wise (4-6, 4-6) 11 10 6 10 — 37

SCORING

Laurel: Megan Brown 26; Autumn Beynum 10; Keyonna Williams 9; Lisa Jing 8; Shayla Jenkins 8; Kiya Modeste 4; Aldijah Koeiman.

Wise: Charnell Ferguson 17; Niani Hartwell 5; Jasmine Jackson 5; Chynna Rollins 4; Kailan Wilson 3; Kiana Hinton 2; Kyra Wiggins 1.