Howe 74, Gainesville 23

Howe coach Derek Lands and his staff brought an entourage to the first round of the NCTC tournament in Gainesville on Dec. 28th and they all enjoyed the trip after a 74-23 win over Gainesville.

This is the 29th edition of the tournament and this year 12 girls’ teams are playing in two locations — the North Central Texas College campus in Gainesville and Lindsay High School.

Howe had no problems getting that opening win as each of the 13 Lady Bulldog players on the trip scored in the blowout.

After a 10-1 start, Lands sent in five fresh faces, but the hot scoring pace continued as Howe put up 21 points in the opening period.

Junior guard Peyton Streetman had five of those and she finished with 11 points, leading the offense.

Sophomore Callie Vick, had three points and junior Payton Griffin four to close out the first period run.

The Lady Bulldogs knocked down four consecutive baskets from beyond the arc early in the second period.

Streetman, Vick, freshman Jenna Honore and senior Madisyn Hargrove fueled that 12-0 run.

With the Lady Bulldogs up by 30, ball movement and easing off the pressure defense was the plan.

Senior Kayla Andrson scored on a drive down the lane and sophomore Bethany Masters got in the book, making one of her two free throw attempts.

Seniors Emily Sanders and Kamryn Fulenchek closed out the first half scoring, as Howe took a 45-9 lead to the break.

The Lady Bulldogs got third quarter baskets from Anderson, Sanders and freshman Ally Harvey, taking a 60-15 lead to the final quarter.

Senior Landry Rhoten scored a pair of buckets to open the fourth period, the second coming off of a nice pass from Harvey at the top of the lane.

Two free throws by Streetman finished the day for the starters. Freshman Cassidy Anderson, scored her first varsity points of the season in the final frame. After Harvey had put down a couple of buckets, freshman Molly Wilson worked free for a baseline jumper, getting her name in the book.

Howe will have three more games at the tournament.

Howe 56, Muenster Sacred Heart 35

The Howe Lady Bulldogs completed the sweep of their pool at the NCTC tournament with a 56-35 win over Muenster Sacred Heart on Dec. 29.

In a game played at Lindsay High School, senior Landry Rhoten had a season-high, 17-point effort in the win, scoring in every quarter of the contest.

Rhoten went 7-for-9 from the free-throw line and the team made 14-of-21 from the stripe.

This one was over early, with Howe jumping out to a 34-13 halftime advantage.

Junior Peyton Streetman, who scored eight points in the Howe win, sent in a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter.

Seniors Emily Sanders and Kamryn Fulenchek each scored from beyond the arc in the period, keying a 22-8 Lady Bulldog run.

Fulenchek and senior guard Madisyn Hargrove,both tossed in 3-pointers in the third quarter.

With the exception of a pair of free throws by Rhoten, all of the fourth-quarter scoring for Howe came from the bench.

Sophomore Callie Vick scored seven points in the game and four of those came in the fourth period.

Junior Payton Griffin and freshman Ally Harvey completed the Howe scoring in the final period.

Muenster 29, Howe 28.

The Lady Bulldogs lost a heart-breaker in the opening round of bracket play at the NCTC Tournament, falling to Muenster High School,29-28.

Howe had a chance to tie the game late, but a missed free throw was the difference in this defensive battle.

Neither team could get any offensive flow going in the second game of the day for both.

Muenster took a 6-point lead in the first half, but Howe bounced back,out scoring the Lady Hornets,9-2 to take a 21-20 lead to the final frame.

Madisyn Hargrove had 3-pointers in each of the last three quarters and Emily Sanders finished with five points to lead the Lady Bulldog offense.

Howe 45, Decatur 35.

With each team playing their fourth game in three days, fatigue would become a factor in the final game of the 2016 NCTC Tournament.

Howe coach Derek Lands got the pace he wanted in the first half, then watched his team run away from the Lady Eagles in the second half with a 45-35 win.

Three minutes into first quarter action, five fresh players came off the Howe bench as the two team’s struggled to score early.

Decatur held the lead,8-7 at the end of one, Howe’s only field goal coming on a drive down the lane by sophomore Callie Vick.

Senior Landry Rhoten converted on a three-point play to open the second quarter, scoring as she was fouled, then adding the free throw tying the game at 10 each. Rhoten finished with 13 points in the Lady Bulldog win.

A Kayla Anderson basket, two free throws by Kamryn Fulenchek and a 3-pointer by Payton Griffin finished off the first half scoring for Howe, and the Lady Bulldogs were down by three at the break.

Howe turned up the heat in the second half, pressing full court throughout the third quarter. The Lady Eagles scored just five points in the period, all coming from the free-throw line as the Howe defense was not giving any easy looks from the field.

Two 3-pointers by Streetman and baskets by Rhoten and freshman Jenna Honore highlighted a 10-0 Howe run to start the period.

Senior Emily Sanders made a nice dish to Fulenchek down low and the senior dropped in an easy deuce to give Howe a 29-24 lead.

Rhoten’s two free throws put Howe up with a 31-25 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

For the first three minutes of the period, Howe was perhaps playing its best defense of the season. Streetman picked the pockets of the Lady Eagles twice, scoring five points to push the Howe lead to a dozen. She also had 13 points for Howe. Sanders took the ball away from a tiring Decatur player to stop one possession and Anderson grabbed a defensive rebound and made two free throws at the other end after being fouled on the effort.

Howe made 4-of-5 from the free-throw line late, with Streetman getting one after being fouled following her third steal of the quarter.

It was a nice win for the Lady Bulldogs to close out the 2016 hoops campaign.

Howe will host Farmersville on Jan. 6 as district play continues.