With two-time district MVP Trejouir Wilson lost to graduation and only one starter back from last year’s 25-8 regional tournament squad, head coach Heather Hohertz’s greatest concern heading into Tuesday night’s season opener was offensive production.
So who wound up picking up the slack offensively? Everyone.
Three players finished in double figures, two more were a point shy and the Lady Lions tallied 42 first-half points en route to a 65-31 triumph over Ballinger at Warren Gym.
“Since our scrimmages, we just talked about competing hard, playing good defense and playing to the highest level and I think I finally got that out of them for four quarters,” Hohertz said. “Offensively, I was wary about who was going to score and if we could put the ball in the hoop. But I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Brownwood (1-0) converted 11 of 26 three-pointers as Mallory Garcia led the charge with 15 points followed by 13 from Taytum Sutton, 10 from Tyanne Stewart, nine each from Sage Cupps and Ryleigh Dalleh, seven from Mya McDowell and two points from Daisy Green.
“After losing Trejouir I came into the game nervous about who was going to be that consistent player, and all 11 that played tonight put it upon themselves to do whatever they could to help this team be successful,” Hohertz said. “Taytum made 4 of 5 threes and she may have shot two all of last year. We’ve worked on outside shooting but I was wary if we could make three-pointers or not. But they had open looks, stepped up and knocked them down.”
The Lady Lions led 21-9 after one quarter, 42-16 at the break and carried a 53-29 edge into the fourth period. For Ballinger (0-1), Kinley Gray tallied a team-best 11 points trailed by seven from Bryla Perkins and six from Kinlee Bowman.
“With three newcomers on defense I knew our new rotation would be a little iffy, but they’re starting to get the hang of it, ” Hohertz said.
Leading by three midway through the first period, the Lady Lions began to distance themselves with a 10-0 run that stretched the advantage to 18-5. A free throw by Sutton started the surge followed by a pair of buckets from Garcia, one from Stewart and a trey from Sutton. With three seconds left in the quarter, Garcia pushed the Lady Lions’ lead back to double figures, where it remained, as Brownwood was up a dozen after eight minutes.
In the second quarter, a 7-0 opening spurt quickly pushed the advantage to 19 points, 28-9. A three-pointer from McDowell and buckets by Cupps and Stewart triggered the run. With 4:14 left before halftime, the Lady Lions’ cushion reached 20 points, 34-14, on a triple by Sutton.
Brownwood cooled off a little in the third period as Ballinger closed to within 20 points, 44-24, but the Lady Lions finished the quarter with a 9-3 edge as a trey from Cupps ignited to surge.
In the fourth period, the Lady Lions yielded just two points on a bucket 2:03 into the frame, as Ballinger went scoreless over the final 5:57. With 2:29 to go, a bucket from Sutton increased the advantage to 30 points, 61-31.
The Lady Lions will be back in action at the Coleman tournament Thursday where they will face Eula and tournament host Coleman.