Leonard 57, Van Alstyne 30
After an emotional win over Highway 5 rival Howe, the Lady Panthers came out a little flat in the Jan. 13 trip to Leonard, which wrapped up the first half of league play.
The Lady Tigers, currently second in District 10-3A play, had two big quarters on the way to a 57-30 win over Van Alstyne.
It was a slow-paced, foul-filled first quarter in the game.
After senior Madison Reno had made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, freshman Alexia Smith scored on a in-bounds play under the Lady Panther basket. Reno dished to sophomore Maegan Thomas with a nice pocket pass and the Thomas basket tied the game at 5-5.
A Reno 3-pointer was offset by a deep shot from Leonard junior Jessi Bennett. Van Alstyne sophomore Rylee Reece added a pair of three throws, but Remi Long answered for Leonard and we were all tied at 10 each at the end of the first period.
Reno, coming off of a 19-point scoring night against the Lady Bulldogs, never got untracked in this one. Leonard mixed its defensive schemes against the Lady Panther standout, and she was held scoreless over the final three periods of action.
Thomas scored three points in the second quarter for Van Alstyne and sophomore BreAnna McCaskill hit a short jumper, but that was it for the Lady Panther offense in the period.
Bridget Watson, who had scored five points in the first quarter, nailed three shots from beyond the arc in the second, leading the Lady Tigers on a 12-0 run at one point.
Bennett had five points in the period as Leonard took a 31-15 advantage to the intermission. The game went back to the slow-grind in the third, Leonard outscored the visitors, 9-7 in the period.
A basket by Thomas, another by junior Treylee Neill and a McCaskill free throw got the lead back to a dozen.
McCaskill scored late in the quarter, but another 3-ball by Watson pushed the Leonard lead to 40-22 heading into the final period.
The Lady Tigers connected on a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth period, taking a 45-22 lead before they began to empty the bench. Thomas had four points in the fourth quarter for Van Alstyne and McCaskill made 2-of-2 from the free-throw line in an eight point fourth period for the Lady Panthers.
After a Jan. 17 trip to Commerce, the Lady Panthers host Lone Oak on Jan. 20 in a playoff position battle.
In sub-varsity action, the Lady Panther JV blue team completed its 6-0 run through the first half of district play with a 37-20 win over Leonard.
Freshman Torin Riddick had 19 points and Darcey Earley added eight points. Sophomore Harley Butler, getting her first action since being sidelined early in the season with a hand injury, added six points in the Lady Panther win.