DENTON — The Lady Bulldogs were in for a struggle in their first varsity matchup of the NCTC tournament on Thursday, Dec. 28, but the girls fought hard to nudge out a 30-29 win over Lindsay.

It was a slow start for the Lady Bulldogs as they finished the first quarter with six points, allowing Lindsay to take a two point lead. It would be the same in the second, as shots just didn’t seem to present themselves to the Howe shooters. Lindsay would be in the lead 17-13 at the end of the half.

The game would be decided by the free-throw line in the fourth, as Howe took seven total free shots, while making four of them. Lindsay had three shots of their own at the line, but they would miss all three — ensuring the one point victory for Howe.

The Howe girls would then take their first loss of the NCTC tournament, 37-42, in a competitive semi-final match up against Era on Friday, Dec. 29.

Howe struggled to find an answer against the quick paced offense and aggressive defense of Era, only being able to put up 15 points in the first half of play. This opened the door for Era to take a 21-15 score with them into the locker-room at half time.

Missed free-throws and scoring opportunities would make the Lady Bulldog climb back to the lead all the more steep, as they couldn’t overcome the deficit by the final buzzer, though Jenna Honore put up an impressive 12 points for Howe.

Next up, the Lady Bulldogs put on a clinic in their final game of the NCTC tournament on Saturday, Dec. 30, as the Howe girls defeated the Nocona Lady Indians 53-40.

The Howe defense shut down Nocona in the first quarter, limiting them to a five point quarter, giving Howe a 9-6 lead.

Nocona would return the favor in the second as their offense surged back with 15 points, all the while keeping the Lady Bulldogs to only a 7 point quarter. Nocona would take possession of the lead, 20-16, going into halftime.

In the third quarter, Howe’s Payton Griffin had enough with Nocona having the lead. She hit two 3-pointers to end the quarter with seven total points — this offensive push would put the Lady Bulldogs back on top, 30-28.

The fourth quarter was a free-throw shooting contest. Howe would go 10-20 on free-throws, while Nocona went 1-13 from the line, allowing the Lady Bulldogs to run away with the lead and the win.

Griffin ended the game with 17 total points, while Honore had 13 total points on the night.

This victory placed the Howe Lady Bulldogs third overall in the tournament.