Trio leads Tors to fourth straight win, stay ahead with quick ball movement

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, January 4, 2023

SULPHUR — Led by the big-play trio of Payton Prince, Emma Thomson and Reese Martin, the host Tors opened the new year Tuesday night with a 49-37 nondistrict win over Lake Arthur.

The trio combined to score more than 76 percent of the Tors’ points for a fourth consecutive game as the Tors (13-5) extended their season-high win streak to four.

“When they are all three on and consistent, and I told them that early in the season, we are going to be successful,” Sulphur head coach Carol Turner said.

Forwards Thomson (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Martin (14 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles, while Prince distributed the ball efficiently with nine assists to go with 13 points and six rebounds.

Lake Arthur (10-9) matched the Tors’ aggressiveness in the lane, but the Tors were able to move the ball around for open shots.

“I felt like they were sagging in to help on our post game so it was harder for us to score on the inside,” Turner said. “Getting a little more ball movement on our end helped us to open things up, pull some defenders out and get the ball inside.”

Avery Marcantel’s bucket midway through the third quarter got the Tigers within 33-31, but Prince fueled the Tors’ second 8-0 run with a trio of assists, setting up Martin each time, and Thomson scored to open the fourth quarter to give the Tors their first double-digit lead, 41-31.

“At the end of the game it was close but (Prince) was able to keep us under control by having the ball in her hands,” Turner said.

The Tigers tied the score at 10-10 on a 3-pointer by Vivian Sketoe with 2:42 left in the first quarter, but Thomson found Saige Martin for the go-ahead bucket 30 seconds later to start the first 8-0 run.

Lake Arthur was right with the Tors most of the third quarter and got within three points after Sketoe made 3 of 3 free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

“Being young, we sometimes turn the ball over and make dumb fouls in transition on 3-point shots,” Turner said. “I think that hurt us early. We were picking up fouls that we didn’t need to by sending them to the line just because we were out of position.”

Sketoe and Riley Daboval led Lake Arthur with 12 points each. The Tigers lost their fifth consecutive game, including losses to top-10 teams Midland, Springfield, St. Thomas More and Zachary.