CARTHAGE — Senior Ja’Kyra Roberts had a near triple-double, including a game-high 19 points, as the Carthage Lady Bulldogs basketball team easily dispatched visiting Henderson 49-24 in a District 17-4A game last Friday.

Roberts had eight rebounds and nine steals along with a pair of assists.

“Getting the steals and just going,” Roberts said. “Being able to finish the layups down low was big.”

Excluding an early 1-1 tie to start the game, Carthage led from that point on.

Za’Kyra Meyers scored 11 points with seven rebounds and Kaylen Igbokwe filled the stat sheet with nine points, 12 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

Desmunah Hicks scored six with eight rebounds and three steals, and Jada Walton scored four points with five rebounds and six steals.

“Our intention was to go in and play a high pressure game and run it from half-court,” Carthage Coach Michael Johnson said. “We want to score off our defense, that’s been our plan since the beginning of this year. We knew we were fast and had some athleticism.”

Carthage led 16-5 after the opening quarter, and the Lady ‘Dawgs led by double digits the rest of the game on.

The Lady ‘Dawgs led the Lady Lions 29-9 going to the half.

“When we have good momentum, it just keeps going,” Walton said. “We told ourselves before the game that we were going to keep pushing it and not play on their level. That’s what we did.”

Anya Jackson and Jacey Ross both scored seven for Henderson, with Jackson adding three steals. Tyra Tyeskey scored five with a pair of steals for the Lady Lions.

Johnson said Carthage’s defensive success starts with Myers; her defense sets up the rest for success.

“I thought (Roberts) had a good game and I attribute a lot of our steals are often a result of Za’Kyra out front,” Johnson said. “That’s our intent for Za’Kyra to make sure to get the pass out of the point guard’s hands as quickly as possible and steal that first pass.

“Ja’Kyra got lots of them thrown her way that game and she was on her toes, ready to go.”

Carthage rebounded after suffering their worst district defeat of the season — a 61-40 loss at Gilmer — and feel they are improving since district play began.

Following the win, the Lady ‘Dawgs improved their record to 9-15 overall and 3-2 in District 17-4A play.

“We’re starting to work better now together than when we first started,” Roberts said. “Us being able to get out in transition helps a lot.”

Carthage will have a bye on Friday but will be back on Tuesday, Dec. 17 when they visit Center.

“We’re still making some mistakes on the fly, so it’s a continual effort on our side,” Johnson said. “Game plan and watch film and make sure we know what we have coming in. Make sure we’re prepared for it, and I thought they did that on Friday.”

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Ryan Silapan joined the Panola Watchman in May of 2021 after previous stints with the Sequoyah County Times, Prep2Prep.com and the Santa Cruz Sentinel. He's in his 11th year as a sports writer and in his free time enjoys golf and watching pro wrestling.