HOWE — The Howe Lady Bulldogs team was able to outdo the gritty young Van Alstyne Lady Panthers, beating them out for a home district win, 56-35, on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Van Alstyne struggled to overcome the physicality and pace of play that the Lady Bulldogs threw at them in the first quarter. Howe racked up seven unanswered points before Van Alstyne broke the ice making the score 7-2. The more inexperienced Lady Panthers team wasn’t intimidated, however, as they dove for loose balls, going right at the Howe defense with aggressive offensive play, which were helped by the return of junior Maegan Thomas, who was out for injury most of the season. The Howe girls still managed to out-shoot Van Alstyne in the quarter, which resulted in a 18-8 Lady Bulldog lead headed into the second.

The gloves came off in the second quarter as the Lady Bulldogs went on a tear, scoring 12 points and keeping the Van Alstyne offense quiet, allowing only 7 points in the quarter. The Lady Panthers were plagued by missed shot opportunities that would result in Howe defensive rebounds. Howe capitalized on this to take a 32-15 lead into half time.

“We’re just a little bit inexperienced is all,” Van Alstyne head coach Tyler Dyer said after the game. “But we are gonna put the time in, and we are going to get there. You know we are down a couple kids tonight, but we will get healthy and work through it. Meagan (Thomas) came back tonight and that gave us a bit of lift. But from here we just worry about doing what we need to do to improve each and every day and focus on the next day.”

There wasn’t much in terms of offense in the third quarter. Both teams playing physical, stealing the ball and taking huge chunks out of the clock with long possessions. With the high energy defensive play by both teams, neither could get open for clean shots. Van Alstyne was able to slow the Lady Bulldogs in the first minutes of the quarter, but in the last two minutes Howe was able to sink 8 points — 5 of those points coming from the sure shots of Peyton Streetman. After only putting together a 5-point quarter, Van Alstyne would go into the fourth quarter down 44-20.

From there the Lady Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas and finished out the game with a comfortable lead.

“We played hard,” Howe head Coach said of his teams performance. “I do think that when we go over there the next time we play them, it will be a different game. Our intensity needs to be better, we’d have it at times, but in others we’d get complacent, but overall I thought we played good, the bench played good, Cassidy Anderson had a good night, Molly (Wilson) went out there and did what she does, and Peyton (Streetman) is always going to get hers… we just gotta stay healthy and keep improving.”

Streetman ended the night with 15 points for Howe, followed by Cassidy Anderson with 13 points.

Maegan Thomas ended the night with only 5 points, but would show that she was a force on the defensive side of the ball for the Lady Panthers.

The Lady Bulldogs now move to 3-1 in district play, as the girls hope to keep up the pace against Leonard on Tuesday, Jan. 16. The Lady Panthers now sit at 3-2 in district and will try to swing things around against Leonard on Friday, Jan. 12.