The Howe Lady Bulldogs were victimized by the long-distance shooting of the Shope sisters in the fourth quarter, losing their second district game on Jan. 17, a 43-41 home loss to Whitewright.
These two young teams have put on battles this season and this one was a nail-biter down to the bitter end.
Starting just two seniors, one for each team, this game was not a “10” on the artistic scale, just a defensive battle between schools that have competed on the court for years.
The Lady Bulldogs, coming off a loss in Pottsboro, went into the contest with a one-game lead in the District 11-2A chase.
Darci Foster sent in a pair of short shots early in the contest, and after Alissa Smith had gone 2-for-2 at the free-throw line Riley Harvey drove the paint for her first basket of the night.
A 3-pointer by Whitewright freshman Hatty Shope got the Lady Tigers started.
Aurian James sent in a floater for the Lady Bulldogs and a Kendall Nelms free throw gave Howe an 11-7 lead at the end of the first period.
The Lady Bulldogs pushed that lead to five over the next eight minutes as Harvey, coming back from a one-point game in Pottsboro, scored four in the quarter.
What had most of the Howe partisans concerned was the misses from 3-point range by the usually hot-shooting team.
Another 3-ball by Hatty Shope and two baskets by senior Sydney Brummett made it a 20-15 game with Howe on top at the half.
The Lady Tigers came out hot in the third quarter as Brummett scored twice in the early minutes. Anna Shope added a bucket to cut the Howe lead to just one. Holly Hawkins, who had maneuvered behind the Whitewright defense, took a pass from Harvey and scored for the Bulldogs. Smith put up a shot from beyond the arc and it fell in after a soft kiss off the glass to push the Howe lead back to four. A basket by James kept the Lady Bulldogs on top at the end of the third period.
A basket by Smith, two free throws by Hawkins and an old-school, three-point play by Harvey gave Howe some breathing room as it built the lead back to six.
It didn’t stay that way long, however, as Whitewright started connecting on its 3-point shots. One from Hatty Shope — after Brummett had scored — and one from Anna Shope cut the Howe lead to just two.
That disappeared as Brummet knocked down a 3-ball, giving Whitewright its first lead of the night. Her steal and basket on Howe’s next possession gave the visitors a 40-37 lead and forced a Lady Bulldog timout with 2:15 left in the game.
After a couple of scoreless possessions, Foster scored from the paint to cut the lead to one with less than a minute to play. Howe got what it needed, a turnover by the Lady Tigers, but lack of success at the free-throw line hurt the Lady Bulldogs coming down the stretch. They made just 2-of-6 from the line in those final seconds and Whitewright was just one better as it escaped with the win
Whitewright 7 8 10 18 — 43
Howe 11 9 9 12 — 41
Howe:Darci Foster 10, Alissa Smith 10, Riley Harvey 10, Aurian James 6, Holly Hawkins 4, Kendall Nelms 1.
Howe 51, S&S 19
The Howe Lady Bulldogs held onto their one-third share of first place in District 11-2A girls’ basketball with a 51-19 blow-out win over S&S in Sadler on Jan. 21.
Howe (8-2) will go into Friday nights’ game against Tom Bean tied for the district lead with Pottsboro and Bells.
On paper,it appears that those three teams will go into the final weeks of the season deadlocked on top of the league.
Bells will travel to Pottsboro on Jan. 31, while Howe will wrap up the regular season with a game in Bells on Feb. 4.
Makenzie Duffee had her best scoring night of the season against S&S, pouring in 13 points in the 32-point win. Alissa Smith added nine points and Riley Harvey chipped in eight in the Lady Bulldog win.
Howe Scoring: Makenzie Duffee 13, Alissa Smith 9,Riley Harvey 8, Darci Foster 7, Holly Hawkins 6, Jessi Akins 4, Aurian James 2, Brooke Blum 2.