The Brownwood Lady Lions scored a season-best 23 points during the third quarter to pull away from the Clyde Lady Bulldogs en route to a 54-31 victory Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
The win was the first at home for the Lady Lions (1-2) — who were making their season debut in front of the Brownwood faithful — and the first varsity victory for first-year Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz.
Not only did Brownwood establish a new season-high for points in the win, the Lady Lions also limited Clyde to a season-low 31 points.
“I’m excited for the girls,” Hohertz said. “They’ve been working really hard and they needed this to help boost their confidence. A win always helps.”
Nine Lady Lions scored, led by Patricia Wilson’s 14 points — 12 of which came during the 23-point third-quarter outburst. Trinity Ansons added eight points, Hannah Mask contributed seven points, six points each came from Amanda Gober and Sara Byrd, Kelsey Gober and Mallorie Maxwell finished with four points apiece, Tiara Brown drained a three-pointer and Shelby Byrd tallied two points.
“We were just trying to have someone step up and make some shots,” said Hohertz, whose team was averaging 43 points per game. “I told them before the game and at halftime I didn’t care who it was, someone needed to step up and make some shots. All of them put it on themselves to make a play and help the team win.”
After scoring 12 of the game’s first 16 points, the Lady Lions were clinging to a 17-14 lead at halftime. But Brownwood turned up the defensive pressure out of the gate in the third period, which began to swing the momentum back in the Lady Lions’ favor.
“We came out a little flat in the second quarter and I told them at halftime that we had to come out and put the hammer down and come out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter,” Hohertz said. “That’s where we made our big push.”
Two of the Lady Lions’ 10 steals occurred in the first 75 seconds of the third quarter, which resulted in easy buckets for Wilson and Amanda Gober that stretched the lead to 21-14.
Brownwood then pieced together a string of 15 unanswered points to boost the advantage to 38-18 with 1:05 left in the quarter,
Wilson scored on a pair of drives through the lane, then Sara Byrd drained a three-pointer to increase the advantage to double digits, 28-18.
Two more buckets from Wilson upped the edge to 32-18, then Kelsey Gober sank a pair of free throws as Brownwood finished 4-of-4 at the charity stripe — a vast improvement over Saturday’s 5-of-20 effort at Comanche.
Shelby Byrd and Maxwell chipped in buckets to cap the run and give Brownwood its largest lead to that point.
“I told them at halftime we had to get up and pressure them and force some turnovers,” Hohertz said. “They were playing a sagging man, so we really couldn’t get to the basket like we wanted to. I told them if we could get some steals it would jump start our offense and help us get going. We got back-to-back steals at the start of the third quarter and that helped us make the big push.”
The Lady Lions’ lead peaked at 27 points, 52-25, with 2:01 left in the game following another three-pointer from Sara Byrd and a bucket from Maxwell.
In the first period, Brownwood raced out to a 10-2 lead thanks to several putbacks on the offensive end. The Lady Lions finished with 13 offensive rebounds, while Clyde collected only four.
“We watched film on Monday and saw they weren’t strong blocking out,” Hohertz said. “I told them if they would crash the boards, especially Trinity, that she could get a lot of offensive rebounds for putbacks. I think watching the film really helped and we were able to exploit their weakness.”
The Lady Lions’ first four buckets came following offensive rebounds as Ansons scored twice, then Amanda Gober and Wilson scored on putbacks.
Mask chipped in a pair of buckets to boost the Lady Lions’ lead to 12-4 with 6:43 left before halftime, but Clyde answered with a 7-0 run that trimmed Brownwood’s advantage to 12-11 with 4:39 left before the half.
Brown answered with a three-pointer at the 4:26 mark to push the lead to 15-11, and the Lady Lions took a three-point advantage into halftime.
The Lady Lions next face Cross Plains at 8 p.m. Saturday.