Brownwood improves to 18-2 prior to TexasBank Holiday Classic

The No. 6 Brownwood Lady Lions may not receive a lot of style points for their fifth consecutive victory, but the end result is all that matters as head coach Heather Hohertz’s squad heads into the Christmas break with an 18-2 record following Friday afternoon’s 55-41 victory over Class 2A No. 25 Mason at Warren Gym.
“It was really a sloppy game, pretty rough,” said Hohertz, whose team is off to the best start in program history. “Both sides were fouling each other. In the first half we fouled them way too many times and sent them to the free throw line. Overall our defense wasn’t bad other than fouling way too much. But we struggled from the free throw in the first half and missed a ton of layups going to the rim. But that happens in a game sometimes, we just have continue to finish.”
The Lady Lions shot only 32 percent (20 of 62) from the floor, but 35 percent (7 of 20) from the three-point line. Brownwood also knocked down just 53 percent (8 of 15) of its free throws and committed 17 turnovers, but grabbed 29 rebounds and forced 28 turnovers, with 17 coming on steals.
Brownwood received a more balanced scoring effort on the offensive end with Mallory Garcia leading the way with 14 points trailed by Sage Cupps with 12, Ryleigh Dalleh with 11, Kenya Barnes with eight and Taytum Sutton with seven points.
“It’s always good when the scoring is spread,” Hohertz said.
For Mason (15-7), 5-foot-11 post Ruby Magnus led all scorers with 22 points trailed by McKenzie Cano and Peyton Anastas with eight apiece and Tessa Guice with three points.
“(Magnus) was tough, a wrecking ball,” Hohertz said. “She was definitely physical and gave our girls a challenge.”
The Lady Lions led 20-8 after one quarter, 33-18 at halftime and 46-32 through three frames. Early on Mason employed full-court pressure, which the Lady Lions haven’t seen much of lately, but Brownwood was up for the challenge.
“We have tons of ball handlers this year so we like to see pressure because that leaves the basket open for us, or the three-point line open,” Hohertz said. “But it didn’t last very long and they backed off of it and got back into the half-court set.”
Leading 8-6 midway through the first period, the Lady Lions reeled off seven straight points to seize control. A bucket by Sutton after an offensive rebound, a trey from Dalleh and a layup by Garcia staked Brownwood to a 15-6 advantage at the 1:47 mark.
In the second period, Brownwood started on a 10-2 run to increase the cushion to 30-12 at the 4:38 juncture. Threes by Cupps and Garcia, along with buckets from Dalleh and Cupps, pushed the advantage to 18 points. The first-half lead peaked at 20 points, 33-13, when Sutton drained a trey at 3:12.
In the third period, Mason crept within 41-25, but Garcia scored on a drive that featured a behind-the-back dribble. Fouled on the play, Garcia failed to convert the traditional three-point play, but Mya Wallace yanked down the rebound and passed to Garcia, who sank a three-pointer to extend the lead to 46-25 at the 1:06 mark.
Brownwood’s final points of the game, during a nine-point fourth quarter, came with 1:12 left  on a bucket by Barnes, which made the score 55-36.
The Lady Lions resume play Thursday at the TexasBank Holiday Classic as they face Brady at 3:10 p.m. and Colorado City at 8:30 p.m. at Warren Gym, then on Friday battle Millsap at 11:10 a.m. and Abilene Cooper at 7:10 p.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum before a Saturday seeding game.
“This team is pretty good, better than some people predicted us to be and maybe even better than I thought we would be,” Hohertz said in regard to the Lady Lions’ performance thus far. “But I told them this yesterday, we really haven’t done anything yet. Yes we have a good record, but we haven’t accomplished anything that we need to accomplish yet. We have five games in the Holiday Classic and then we begin district with Wylie, so it’s going to be a tough stretch. We have to continue to work day in and day out.”