Whitewright 48, Howe 38
The outcome of the Whitewright-Howe girls’ basketball game came down to a three-minute stretch at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter, in their Jan. 27 game at Howe.
With Howe leading, 33-32, the Lady Tigers went on a 14-0 run over that span, leading the visitors to the 10-point win.
Senior Jolie Donaldson dropped in a 3-pointer, then got free in the paint for a pair of layups to key the run that decided the game.
“You have to pick your poison, and we did a good job of holding their other guys down until that run,” Howe coach Derek Lands said.
With a game plan of not giving help to the person guarding Whitewright standout Zada Swoopes, the Howe plan worked well for more than 28 minutes.
“Lots of good things happened out there tonight, we made some mistakes, but we played more physical than at any time this year, so everything will be all right,” Lands said.
The two teams battled throughout the first half, neither able to put any distance between the two on the scoreboard.
Howe’s first basket came about three minutes into the game when freshman post Ally Harvey dropped in a shot from just outside the paint. Harvey was not overwhelmed by her task of guarding the district’s presumptive MVP, Swoopes.
“We didn’t give anybody guarding Zada any help — they were kinda out there on an island,” Lands said.
Swoopes scored 32 points in the game, and the Lady Tigers needed all of them.
As has been his custom all season, Lands sent in his second unit midway through the first period and they responded well. Free throw makes by senior Kayla Anderson and junior Payton Griffin tied the game, 8-8 at the end of the first quarter. They went to the halftime break tied, 23-23, as 3-pointers by Griffin and junior Peyton Streetman highlighted second quarter action.
Swoopes had a pair of baskets late in the half and gave the visiting crowd a scare when she went down hard near the end of the period. As usual, half the crowd was screaming for a foul call that never came, and, as usual the crowd was wrong as Swoopes admitted that she had slipped and tweaked a muscle when she fell.
A Harvey basket and a 3-pointer by senior Madisyn Hargrove gave Howe a 28-26 lead to open the second half. A three-point play by Swoopes, then her short jumper cut the lead to just one. Harvey put back her own miss, then made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.
A basket by Howe sophomore Callie Vict gave the Lady Bulldogs a 33-32 lead with just over two minutes left in the third quarter. Donaldson dropped in a 3-ball coming out of a Whitewright timeout, then Swoopes went up strong in the post to bank in a leaner. Two more Donaldson makes and another by Swoopes forced a Howe timeout with the Lady Tigers up by 10,and just over six minutes left in the game.
Howe could never cut into that advantage as Swoopes had the answer for every Lady Bulldog point.
Freshman Jenna Honore scored on a shot from just outside the paint and Harvey added two from the charity stripe, but all that was being matched by the play of Swoopes and Donaldson who finished with 14 points.
“We made some mistakes trying to get steals, and she punishes you when you do that,” Lands said.
She, meaning Swoopes, punished the Lady Bulldogs with her big effort, keeping the Lady Tigers undefeated in District 10-3A play.
After a trip to Farmersville on Jan. 31, Howe will close out the district season, hosting Van Alstyne on Feb. 3.
A playoff spot or seeding will be at stake in that contest.