EARLY - The Early Lady Horns chalked up their second District 6-3A girls basketball victory in the last three outings, rolling to a 61-47 triumph over the Comanche Maidens Friday night.
"The last couple of weeks we've actually been playing pretty well as a team," said Early head coach Chris Moody. "Whether we execute at the free throw line and finish our blocked shots usually determines whether we win or lose. Tonight, we were able to execute at the free throw line and when we got on the block."
Trailing 3-2 less than a minute into the contest, the Lady Horns answered with a dozen points in row to open a 14-3 advantage at the 3:37 mark of the first quarter - and never trailed again.
Vance Cady Gordon scored the first six points for Early (4-17, 2-6) en route to a 17-point effort, second-most on the team.
"Vance Cady is the ultimate warrior," Moody said. "It doesn't matter if she scores a point, she's going to give me everything she has on the defensive end from the time she steps on the floor until I take her off. She's continued to work on her shot and today she had 17 points. She's a sparkplug for our team and came up huge today."
Ellie Ryan also scored six of her game-high 19 points in the initial stanza, while Kacee Gober contributed five of her nine points in the first eight minutes.
"We know we're an inside out team and Ellie does a lot of hard work down low getting points." Moody said. "Ellie continues to lead us in every game. We keep feeding her and hope she continues with her leadership and gets us where we need to go.
"Kacee has a lot of length and that helps with getting offensive and defensive rebounds and contesting shots. Any points she gives us is a bonus and tonight she had nine. Those girls are huge for our program as senior leaders for our young team."
Also scoring for the Lady Horns were Taylor Summers with eight points, Carrigan Norris with six points and Emily Jillson with two points.
For Comanche (3-13, 1-6), Hailey Lorta led the charge with 10 points trailed by Vicki Lopez and Madelynn Welch with nine apiece, Alize Lopez with eight, Angelica Tyson with six, Liliana Constancia with three and Megan Carter with two points.
The Maidens crept within 17-14 by the end of the first period, but another quick start in the second quarter ignited another Lady Horns run. Early scored the first eight points of the second quarter - four by Gordon and two each from Ryan and Gober - to increase the advantage to 25-14 with 6:09 left in the half.
At the 1:26 mark, Comanche closed to within five points, 28-23, after a three-pointer by Lopez. Early responded with a 7-0 run to end the half - five from Gordon and two from Ryan - to carry a 35-23 edge into halftime.
The Lady Horns continued to pad the cushion in the third quarter as Early carried a 48-29 edge into the fourth period.
Early's lead maxed out at 22 points, 54-32, on a bucket by Ryan with 4:24 to go. Comanche eventually closed the gap to 10 points, 57-47, with 58 seconds remaining, but the Lady Horns tallied the final four points to secure the victory.
The Lady Horns will target their first district win streak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when Eastland visits.