PANAMA CITY — Although just a sophomore, Mosley power forward Hennessey Smith offers a prime example why basketball is so uniquely a team sport.
The Lady Dolphins were led by senior Alexis Ware in their 66-34 triumph over Bay on Monday night at John L. Cobb Gymnasium. And rightly so.
Ware not only led all scorers with 21 points, she extended her school career record for 3-pointers to 126. Ware also revealed why she already has signed with South Carolina-Aiken to play next season on the college level.
But it was Smith’s contribution that enabled Mosley, 8-3, to break the game open by midway through the second quarter. At 5-foot-11 she has good size, but is far from imposing. Yet she totaled 18 points without attempting a shot from more than 5 feet from the basket.
Much of that was the result of 16 rebounds by Smith, eight on the offensive end that led to easy putbacks. She also added four blocked shots in a complete all-around performance.
Of those gaudy statistics, one phase of the game gave her the biggest source of pride.
“Probably the rebounds,” the two-year starter said. “I put a lot of effort and energy into that. I jump really high and I anticipate the shot.”
Smith admitted her role was made somewhat easier by the absence of Bay’s inside strength epitomized by Anissa Martin. Martin, also a track and field standout in the shot put and discus, scored all of her four points less than five minutes into the game.
She sat out much of the first half, however, and when she re-entered with 2:20 before halftime injured her right wrist when falling heavily to the floor a minute later and did not return.
Her absence was felt by Smith.
“Oh yes, it was easier rebounding,” she said.
Ware was a constant force, and all eight players on Mosley’s varsity scored and contributed in other ways, but it was the disparity on the offensive glass that was notable early.
Mosley scored nine of its 17 first-quarter points directly from offensive rebounding to more than offset a slow start from the perimeter. The Dolphins eventually made four 3-pointers, but missed all four times from long range in the first quarter.
They still led 17-10 after 8 minutes.
It became 36-18 by halftime and Bay, 2-4, couldn’t mount a response, especially when leading scorers Jasmine James and Whitney Peterson encountered foul trouble. Both collected their fifth early in the fourth quarter, James leaving with 11 points and Peterson with 6. Devyn Austin added 6 points for the Lady Tornadoes.
Ware and Smith were ably supported by Segovia Goodin and Hazel White. While they only combined for 13 points they also were strong on the boards. White chipped in four nifty assists that led to layups.
That helped offset the absence of sophomore point guard Catie Byrd, who has been lost for the season with a knee injury. Coach Steve Canfield said he hoped Byrd can return by next summer.
With just eight players suiting up, each knows their effort is vital.
“It’s really hard,” Smith said. “I just tell myself to stay composed.”
Bay won the junior varsity game 26-21 as Maloni Moore and Skykell Sheffield each had 11 points.
- MOSLEY (66)
- Yangson 1 0-0 3, Grady 1 0-2 2, Daniels 3 0-0 7, Goodin 3 1-4 7, Simmons 1 0-2 2, Ware 7 6-7 21, Smith 8 2-2 18, White 2 1-5 6. Totals: 26 10-22 66.
- BAY (34)
- Ashwood 0 0-0 0, Austin 2 2-7 6, Chancey 1 0-2 2, Gray 0 0-0 0, James 5 1-4 11, Kelso 0 0-1 0, Kennedy 0 2-2 2, Little 1 0-0 2, Martin 2 0-0 4, Ming 0 1-2 1, Peterson 2 2-8 6. Totals: 13 8-26 34.
- Mosley 17 19 15 15 — 66
- Bay 10 8 6 10 — 34
- 3-point goals: Mosley 4 (Daniels,Yangson, Ware, White). Total fouls: Mosley 19, Bay 17. Fouled out: Bay (James, Peterson). Technical fouls: Mosley bench.