EARLY — A seven-day break between District 6-2A contests appeared to only rejuvenate the Early Lady Horns, who chalked up their second straight lopsided league win Friday night.
The Lady Horns improved to 2-1 in league play and 12-7 overall with a 62-35 thrashing of the Grape Creek Lady Eagles.
Entering Friday’s game, Early and Grape Creek were among six teams tied for second place in the eight-team district.
The Lady Horns snapped a three-game slide at Bangs on Dec. 14 with a 56-35 win, but Friday’s victory was even more impressive.
Sydney Skeen led the Lady Horns with 14 points, while Katelyn Matlock and Brittany Wilson contributed 11 each. Sarah Russell and Angela Sanderson again led the reserves with six points apiece off the bench.
Defensively, the Lady Horns’ pressure led either to turnovers which translated into easy buckets, or horrendous shots by the Lady Eagles (9-6, 1-2) with very little opportunity for an offensive rebound.
Grape Creek received 16 points from Brooke DuBois, while Sarah Garcia chipped in 13. Only two more Lady Eagles scored, and none more than four points.
Leading 11-7 midway through the first quarter, the Lady Horns put the game away with a crippling 16-0 run that saw Grape Creek go 5:36 without scoring.
Skeen started the spurt with a bucket at the 1:26 mark of the first period. She later added another deuce and Wilson scored a basket as Early pushed its advantage to 17-7 by the end of the quarter.
The Lady Horns then started the second quarter with 10 consecutive points. Skeen and Wilson scored the first two baskets, then Russell reeled off six straight points which pushed the advantage to 27-7 with 5:29 left before halftime.
Despite Grape Creek’s slow start in the second quarter, the Lady Eagles tallied 13 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, which marked the only period Grape Creek scored in double figures.
DuBois picked up 10 of her points in the second period and chalked up Grape Creek’s first eight points in the quarter.
Leading 35-20 at intermission, Early opened the third period with a string of seven straight points to increase its edge to 42-20.
Skeen scored two baskets, Matlock added a deuce and Wilson chipped in a free throw. Meanwhile, Early’s defense held Grape Creek scoreless for the first 3:54 of the second half.
Grape Creek was able to trim the deficit under 20 points, 46-28, by the end of the third period, but that didn’t last long.
Brittany Braun opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a three-pointer for Early, which pushed the lead to 49-28 with 7:49 left.
Grape Creek got no closer than 20 points the rest of the game, and Matlock’s bucket with 21 seconds left gave Early its largest lead and the final 27-point margin of victory.
The Lady Horns will not be in action again until Jan. 3 when they visit state-ranked Wall. The Longhorns will take part in the Underwood’s Christmas Classic at Brownwood High’s Warren Gym and the Brownwood Coliseum, starting Friday.