The Howe Lady Bulldogs completed their pre-holiday run through the District 11-2A schedule, keeping their slate perfect with a 59-43 win at Tom Bean on Dec. 20.
Howe takes a 7-4 overall and 4-0 district record to the break.
The Howe coaching staff will probably want to erase the first few minutes of the latest game tape, however, as the Lady Bulldogs didn’t get off to the best of starts.
Six turnovers in their first six trips was not the expected start, and the Lady Cats were on fire from the 3-point line early.
Junior guard Katie Jones dropped in a pair of long-range bombs to get her team off to a 6-0 start and get the crowded old gym rocking.
Howe’s full-court, pressure defense went to work, getting three straight steals as Riley Harvey and Holly Hawkins were dominant in the paint to restore order.
Harvey’s second basket tied the score at 6-6, but Tom Bean struck again from downtown as Ramie Byers dropped in a 3-ball from the top of the arc. Jones connected with her third 3-point shot to put the Lady Cats up by two.
More defensive pressure by the Lady Bulldogs led to baskets by Harvey and Darci Foster. and a steal near the Howe basket and three-quarter court drive by Harvey tied the game at 14-all at the end of one.
After Alissa Smith had made one-of-two attempts from the free-throw line, Foster picked the pocket of a Lady Cat player near mid-court and took off for the Howe basket. With everyone in the Howe stands yelling "wolf," Foster just outran the pursuing defender and laid in a shot to give Howe a lead it never relinquished.
Aurian James and Christina Counts scored from 3-point distance, and a Hawkins’ basket late in the quarter helped push the Lady Bulldog lead to 29-21 at the break. James finished with five points and seven assists.
Hawkins scored a pair of baskets early in the third quarter, both coming off of nice feeds from the top of the key by Harvey. After Tom Bean had countered with a basket, the Lady Cats got their next six points from the free-throw line but it could have been worse.
Jones, who could not miss from beyond the arc in the first quarter, was fouled on an attempted three early in the third but could only make one when unguarded from 15 feet.
After Smith had drained a trey for Howe, the Lady Bulldogs went mentally south for a few possessions. Smith ended the quarter with a 3-pointer, giving Howe a 41-30 lead going into the final eight minutes.
Smith knocked in two more shots from beyond the arc to open the fourth, and after Howe had pushed the lead to 18, the Lady Bulldog bench got in on the fun.
Holding off the Lady Cat pressure, Brooke Blum and Makenzie Duffee scored from the free-throw line as Howe cruised home with the 16-point win.
The Lady Bulldogs will play in the Sherman Holiday Tournament beginning on Dec. 26 and return to District 11-2A action when they host Whitesboro on January 3rd.
Howe 14 15 12 18 — 59
Tom Bean 14 7 9 13 — 43
Howe: Riley Harvey 16, Alissa Smith 13, Holly Hawkins 12, Darci Foster 6, Aurian James 5, Christina Counts 4, Morgan Carney 1, Makenzie Duffee 1, Brooke Blum 1.