Injury deflates Lady Devils in 30-23 loss to Stone

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

In the early stages of the second quarter, Pearl River Central’s senior captain Kayla Ryan suffered a non-contact injury to her right knee after landing awkwardly in an attempt to jump stop the ball Tuesday night.

The Lady Tomcats (11-11; 2-2) defeated the Lady Devils 30-23.

“Kayla is one of the those players that is the heart and soul of our team. It really took a toll on the rest of the girls’ attitudes for the rest of the game,” PRC Head Coach Anthony LaBella said. “I’m not making excuses, because we still could have pulled out a victory if we shot better.”

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The Lady Devils (13-8; 1-3) struggled to put the ball in the basket throughout the game, finishing 8-48 from the field.

Despite the lack of scoring, the aggressiveness of PRC and a stout defensive effort kept them within a close gap from start to finish. Once the Lady Devils got out to a 6-1 lead, LaBella said the team began to shoot poorly and miss routine plays.

At the end of the third quarter, PRC was down 16-15, making the team hang its hat on the defense after forcing the Lady Tomcats to turn the ball over 26 times.

“We just couldn’t find a groove,” LaBella said. “We had a lot of stretches where we couldn’t find the back of the net, which wore on us mentally.”

After that, the Lady Devils only scored one field goal in the fourth quarter, ending a “very frustrating night” that was a must win for the team, LaBella said.

“This is not how we want to go into the game against Picayune,” he said. “We just hope that Kayla is alright. She is one of the toughest players I have ever coached anywhere and in any sport.”

On Friday, PRC hosts  its rival Picayune at 6 p.m. for a rematch in what ended in a late Lady Tide comeback to defeat the Lady Devils 43-35 on Jan. 13.

In that game, Ryan scored six points and a steal.

“It was a close loss last time we played Picayune and not having your leader will hurt, but we just have to go out there and play. There’s no need to be nervous, we just have to go play our game,” LaBella said.

Ryan received an X-ray after the game, which came back negative for bone damage.

Ryan went back to the hospital Wednesday afternoon for more testing.

“Kayla means a lot to this team. She is a four year varsity player who has started every game for the past three years,” LaBella said. “You hate to see this happen to anyone, but especially to someone who is as great of a player and person she is.”