The Howe Lady Bulldogs suffered their first district loss of the 2013-14 season Jan. 14 in Pottsboro as the Lady Cardinals took a 42-27 win.

Howe(10-9)(7-1) was outscored 20-9 in the second half and suffered its first district loss since January 27, 2012 against Gunter.

Alissa Smith led the Lady Bulldog scoring with 13 points and Darci Foster added five. Howe standout Riley Harvey scored just one point in the loss.

Pottsboro, with the win, and Bells are just one game in back of the District 11-2A-leading Lady Bulldogs.

Howe 5 13 8 1 — 27

Pottsboro 13 9 10 10 — 42

Howe: Alissa Smith 13, Darci Foster 5, Aurian James 3, Holly Hawkins 3, Makenzie Duffee 2, Riley Harvey 1.

Howe 47, Bells 41

The Bells Lady Panthers lost their district opener to Whitewright back on Dec. 10. Since that home loss, Bells came into their game at Howe on a five-game win streak and most of those W’s were impressive.

Howe coach Derek Lands knew the main problem his team faced was mental.

"I wasn’t really sure if our players believed they could win this game," he said after the game.

In a game that bounced back and forth for the first 30 minutes Howe prevailed over the most important portion, the final two, to take a 47-41 victory.

The win completes the Lady Bulldogs’ 7-0 run through the first half of District 11-2A play.

The biggest lead either team had was four. For most of the contest it was — to use one of Troy Aikman’s overused phrases — a two-possession game.

After a 3-pointer by Alissa Smith got the Howe offense off and running, Riley Harvey got a steal near mid-court and drove in for a lay-up. Fouled on the make, Harvey completed the three-point play. She then showed some range, dropping in a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give Howe an early 9-4 lead.

Bells had a pair of baskets by Carlee Shelby, but the big weapon on the Lady Panther side was freshman post Katie Branam.

After Howe had taken a 13-10 lead at the end of the first period, Branam went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line to get Bells its first lead of the game. She finished with 15 points to lead the Lady Panther scoring.

That lead was quickly erased as Harvey dropped in a pair of baskets from inside the paint. A 3-pointer by Darci Foster gave Howe a 23-19 advantage at the half. Aurian James made a nice feed to Holly Hawkins down low and Hawkins’ basket kept the lead at four.

Bells came roaring back on baskets by Shelby and Branam to tie the game at 25-all. Two Bells’ baskets and a free throw gave the Lady Panthers a 30-26 lead, forcing a Howe timeout to re-group.

A basket by Smith and two free throws by Foster cut the lead to two following Branam’s basket to close out the third period.

A Howe run to open the fourth quarter was keyed by a 3-pointer by Makenzie Duffee, a Morgan Carney basket inside, and Duffee’s 12 footer from the short-corner that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 37-34 lead.

"Their defense was dropping inside on a play we had run and I felt if they left Duffee alone out there she could do some damage," Lands said. Her 5-point effort early in the fourth was a spark.

Bells came back as Branam dropped in a 3-pointer then connected on two from the free-throw line to tie the score at 39-39.

Duffee helped on the defensive end as well, snagging an important rebound when it looked like momentum was shifting.

A basket by Smith, scoring on an in-bounding play under the Howe basket, and a shot that fell for Harvey put the Lady Bulldogs on top, 43-41.

With time running down, Bells couldn’t score and Harvey could, making 3-of-6 from the charity stripe in the closing seconds. Carney rebounded the final Bells’ miss then made 1-of-2 free throws to help secure the win.

Sub-Varsity Notes: The Howe junior varsity completed the first half of district play with a 37-32 win over Bells. Kayla Anderson finished with 12 points and Caelen Powless had 10 in Howe’s fifth district win of the year. Anderson had two free throws and a 3-pointer to break a 32-32 tie.

Bells 10 9 13 9 — 41

Howe 13 10 7 17 — 47

Howe: Riley Harvey 20, Alissa Smith 8, Makenzie Duffee 7, Darci Foster 5, Morgan Carney 3, Holly Hawkins 2, Aurian James 2

District 11-2A Standings

Howe 7-1

Pottsboro 6-2

Bells 6-2

Whitesboro 5-3

Whitewright 4-4

Tom Bean 2-6

S&S 2-6

Callisburg 0-8