ANNA — Anna’s Lady Coyotes dropped their 2017 home-opener to Howe, 48-31, on Tuesday, Nov. 14, moving their record to 0-2 on the young season. The Class 3A Lady Bulldogs’ mark improved to 2-5.
Howe used its size advantage, superior ball handling and a decisive 16-0 run in the second quarter to keep the Lady Coyotes at bay all night. The Lady Bulldogs enjoyed a 31-17 halftime advantage and led, 37-25, after three quarters. Anna’s defense showed great promise at times but at the other end, the offense struggled.
Howe guard Peyton Streetman led all scorers with 19 points while teammate Alley Harvey, at forward, pumped in 12. Sophomore guard Marianna Bert collected a team-high 14 points for Anna, including a team-high four 3-pointers. Senior forward Taylor Medrick followed with six points for the Lady Coyotes and senior post player JaShell Evans added five.
Howe head coach Derek Lands said he thought his team had gained much from facing some talented Class 5A competition at a recent local tournament. “I think going to that tournament in Frisco this last weekend, where there were a lot of athletes — we had to play at a different pace. And think it helped us. I think tonight they came out a little more aggressive and we pushed the ball down the floor a little better,” he said.
As for challenges Lands observed for his team in this game, he said, “Sometimes we still don’t make the right decision when we kick the ball down into the post. We’re eager to get rid of it real quick. That’s youth. They’re real young.”
First-year Anna head coach Albert Cager said the Lady Coyotes have several areas that need to improve. “There are so many little things that we need to work on — from understanding how to play the game of basketball to making good passes, making sure we attack the basket, going left. There were many different things that were coachable moments that are things we need to improve on if we plan to make a run in the district. I like our energy. I love our defense. I think our defense kept us in the game. Offensively, we need a lot of work. We had trouble putting the ball in the basket again tonight.”
Anna was again without three key players after injuries sustained prior to and during its season-opener at Greenville. They include senior forward Tajia Pritchett, senior guard Hannah Heath and junior guard Angel Dube. “Taija is our best athlete, Angel is our best ball-handler and Hannah Heath is our leader,” Cager said.
Howe opened the contest fast, charging to a 12-5 lead with a boost from two Streetman 3-pointers. After 5-2 Anna spark-plug Bert drove the lane for a layup, Streetman came back with two free throws and the Lady Bulldogs’ advantage was 14-7. Moments later, Anna’s Evans made a strong move to the hoop for 2, drawing a foul. After she drained the charity-stripe shot, Bert swished a 3 from the side and, with 40 seconds left in the first quarter, Howe led, 14-13.
Soon after the second stanza began, Evans again dominated underneath for a rebound and a put-back 2 to tie the game at 15-all. But the Lady Coyotes’ momentum evaporated quickly as Howe embarked on its monster run. Streetman started the barrage with a 3 from the top of the key and, seconds later, Callie Vick laid one in off an inbounds pass. Payton Griffin’s short jumper followed and, just like that, the Lady Bulldogs’ lead was 24-15.
A Caylon Cline layup and two Marissa Agee free throws moved the margin to 31-15 before a corner deuce by Anna’s Chastity Brown-Littleton ended the points-tsunami as the halftime buzzer sounded.
In the third quarter, Howe’s lead moved 37-17 on a Harvey top-of-the-key jumper, but Anna responded with two Medrick 3s and guard Skyla Mackey’s drive to the bucket as the period wound down.
The Lady Bulldogs doused any comeback hopes with an 11-0 run to open the final period. Anna’s only points in the quarter came on two Bert 3-pointers with seconds left to play.