Brownwood 8-0 on the season after avenging loss from last season to 6A program
Chalk up yet another first for the Brownwood Lady Lions basketball program — undefeated at Thanksgiving.
In just their second game at Warren Gym, the Lady Lions collected their eighth consecutive victory to start the 2017-18 campaign, rolling past the Class 6A Abilene High Lady Eagles, 70-42.
“That was our goal, we were on a mission to finish undefeated at the break,” said Brownwood head coach Heather Hohertz. “We talked about what they did to us last year where we barely got the ball past half court and they blew us out. We were looking to rebound from that and really make a statement.”
The Lady Lions were dealt a 53-34 defeat at Abilene High a year ago, one of just nine losses in 33 outings.
This encounter, however, belonged to the Lady Lions from the midway point of the first period. Knotted at 8 after a three-pointer by Abilene's Cami Hernandez at the 3:37 mark, Brownwood responded with an 11-0 run, including the last eight points of the opening stanza, to open a double-digit advantage of 19-8 just 37 seconds into the second quarter.
“At first our defense was really off on rotation, we weren't staying down,” Hohertz said. “But we adjusted to it, broke their press, handled the pressure and hit wide open shots.”
Sage Cupps again led the charge for the Lady Lions with 28 points, one of three Lady Lions in double figures.
“When she's on fire she's on fire,” Hohertz said of Cupps. “You have to decide if you're going to guard her on the three-point line or give her the drive. She's done well developing her game and knowing when they're running at her to go by them and shoot a layup.”
Mallory Garcia finished with 13 points, while Taytum Sutton chipped in 10.
“Last year Mallory really struggled against them and we talked about handling the pressure and running the show,” Hohertz said. “She didn't finish like she wanted, she missed some layups and was frustrated, but she ran the team and got us into what we do, so she did her job.
“And I'm really proud of Taytum. She's been struggling with her shot the last couple of games, and she missed a couple and was frustrated tonight, but I told her to go get some rebounds and she had some really good put backs for us.”
Also scoring for the Lady Lions were Ryleigh Dalleh and Mya Wallace with seven points apiece, Hadley Monroe with three and Kenya Barnes with two points.
Abilene High (5-5) received 15 points from Destiny Gallentine and 13 from Trakenya Roberson.
During the Lady Lions' decisive 11-0 run to close the first period and start the second, a drive by Cupps pushed Brownwood back in front followed by a pair of free throws from Sutton. The Lady Lions sank 13 of 18 free throws (72 percent).
Sutton added a deuce before the quarter ended, and Garcia scored as well to pad the cushion to 16-8. The run concluded with a three-pointer by Cupps, one of her six treys on the night.
Brownwood pushed its lead past 20 points, 32-11, on a bucket by Wallace with 45 seconds left in the first half. The largest advantage for the Lady Lions was 31 points, 54-23, following a three-pointer from Monroe with 1:31 to go in the third quarter.
The Lady Lions shot 40 percent (24 of 60) as team and 53 percent (9 of 17) from three-point land. Brownwood also grabbed 34 rebounds, recorded nine steals and committed just 10 turnovers.
Brownwood is back in action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Hamilton (4-1).
“When we come back Monday we have to be ready to continue the mission,” Hohertz said. “We can't be content, we have to stay hungry. There's still a lot we need to get better at. Our defense is not where it needs to be and our rebounding is very up and down. We have to get better at those things.”