Girls fend off pesky Lady Steers squad, 47-37; Boys record first 26 points in 72-48 rout to start league play
BIG SPRING — Playing without starting point guard Mallory Garcia, shooting guard Sage Cupps carried the load offensively for the No. 9 Brownwood Lady Lions, who fought off a pesky Big Spring Lady Steers squad for a 47-37 victory in District 5-4A action Tuesday night.
Cupps finished with 27 points, including 17 in the first half aided by a trio of three-pointers. Defensively, after allowing 62 points in their last outing against Sweetwater, the Lady Lions gave up 21 points in the first half and surrendered just 16 — including two in the third period — after halftime.
“Without Mallory and to get a 10-point win, you couldn’t ask for more,” said Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz, as Garcia missed the game due to concussion protocol. “Our effort was kind of up and down in the first half and I really challenged them at halftime and told them the only way we were going to win this game was to defend and get the loose balls and rebound. They really stepped up to the challenge in the second half and really hunkered down even when some of them were tired.”
Taytum Sutton added six points for the Lady Lions, all in the second half before fouling out, Kenya Barnes chipped in four, Hadley Monroe and Ryleigh Dalleh both drained a three-pointer and Daisy Green and Mya Wallace contributed two points apiece.
For Big Spring, 6-foot post Aissa Cervantes led the way with 12 points, but only two in the second half, while Kayleigh Penny chipped in 11. Cervantes’ play inside allowed Big Spring to hang around throughout the first half, as Brownwood carried a 23-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“Our posts all year have been a combination of Kenya and Wallace,” Hohertz said. “Big Spring’s posts combined for 13 points in the first half, but I challenged them at halftime and they really stepped up.”
Clinging to a 27-25 lead midway through the third period, a trey from Cupps triggered a 6-0 run to close the quarter.
“They ran a box and one on Sage and any time a team does that she gets really motivated,” Hohertz said. “We’ve seen it before, but she got going early with floaters and layups and that opened up outside shots.”
A free throw and bucket from Sutton closed the quarter for Brownwood then, after Big Spring recorded the first points of the fourth quarter, Sutton knocked down a trey to stretch the advantage to 36-27. Wallace followed with her lone field goal as the Lady Lions opened a double-digit edge, 38-27.
Barnes followed with a bucket to give Brownwood its largest lead of 13 points, 40-27, which capped a decisive 13-2 run.
Big Spring crept within eight points, 40-32, late in the fourth period, but Cupps drilled another three — a dagger that stretched the lead back to double figures and essentially sealed the victory.
The Lady Lions (24-4, 2-1) wrap up the first half of district action at 6:15 p.m. Friday against Snyder (11-14, 2-2), which chalked up a 72-53 victory over Sweetwater Tuesday.
Lions 72, Big Spring 48
BIG SPRING — The Brownwood Lions held the Big Spring Steers scoreless for the first 9:10 of the contest and opened a 26-point lead — including a 24-0 advantage after one quarter — en route to a 72-48 victory in their District 5-4A opener.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better after traveling three and a half hours on a bus ride,” Lions head coach Nadir Dalleh said. “They made a statement in that first quarter. I’ve never coached a team that shut anybody out in the first quarter on the varsity level. This was about our guys playing basketball, wanting to win and wanting to compete.”
The win was the 10th in the last 12 outings for the Lions (17-6, 1-0), who finished as the 5-4A runner-up a season ago.
Zach Strong led the charge for the Lions with 29 points trailed by 17 from A.J. McCarty, 16 from Xavier Porter, four from Isyah Campos, three from Sean Yoder, two from Tommy Bowden and one point from Ryan Riker.
“Zach had 29 points which was unbelievable,” Dalleh said. “He also hit nine of 10 free throws, and I couldn’t ask for more than that.
“And Xavier’s a senior who gives everything. He steps up on the defensive end more than anything and once he gets that shot going he’s tough to guard.”
McCarty drained a three-pointer, Strong added a bucket and two free throws and McCarty sank another trey as Brownwood raced out to a 10-0 lead. Yoder added a free throw ahead of a McCarty deuce, Strong tallied the next four points on buckets in the paint and Porter closed the quarter with his first five points for a 24-0 advantage.
Bowden found the net for his lone field goal less than a minute into the quarter, then Big Spring’s Javone Ford — who led the Steers with 13 points — ended the shutout 70 seconds into the second quarter.
The Lions owned a 44-16 lead at halftime as Strong poured in 20 points in the initial two quarters, McCarty added 13 and Porter contributed eight.
Brownwood played various lineups in the second half, allowing most players ample time on the court, as the Lions carried a 54-32 edge into the fourth period.
The Lions will attempt to begin district with back-to-back victories as they welcome the Snyder Tigers at 7:45 p.m. Friday. Snyder (10-7, 1-1) collected a 64-36 district victory over rival Sweetwater (6-11, 1-1) Tuesday night.