Stuttgart saw their record drop to 15-7 Thursday night following a 43-38 loss to the Helena-West Helena Central in front of a capacity crowd in Stuttgart. In spite of leading for most of the contest, Stuttgart finally found the Lady Cougars’ size in the paint too much to overcome in the fourth quarter.
Helena is a very big basketball team. With three girl’s measuring 5’10” or taller, the Lady Cougars have the biggest front line that Stuttgart has faced this season. That roster is led by sophomore center Tara Green who at 6’2” posed an enormous roadblock for the vertically challenged Ladybirds.
Ariya Minor kept the Ladybirds in the game early as the junior hit four three pointers in the first half to account for 12 of Stuttgart’s 18 first half points. Helena countered with the inside presence of Green. The sophomore battered the Ladybirds to the tune of eight first half points along with seven rebounds.
The result was an 18-16 Ladybird halftime lead that felt precarious, at best.
In the third period Stuttgart was able to use their defense to force Helena into turnovers resulting in transition opportunities for the quick Stuttgart guards. Ahonesty Loudermilk, who battled foul trouble in the second half, led Stuttgart with eight third quarter points.
For every play that Stuttgart made unfortunately, Tara Green was there to battle back. Green scored nine points in the period and roughed up the Ladybirds in the process. Coach Spencer Gay did everything he could to neutralize the post but no amount of doubling or denying was enough as simple physics won out.
With an injury to Aniyha Hobbs, Lauren Hord was forced to battle in the post for the Ladybirds on defense. In spite of doing everything within the rules to slow down Green, Hord often found herself as simply a bump in the road for the Lady Cougar.
Green finished the game with a game high 21 points to go along with 14 rebounds. No other Lady Cougar scored in double figures.
Minor led the Birds with 16 points followed by 10 from Loudermilk. The absence of Aniyha Hobs was obvious Thursday night.