With a strong third quarter, the El Campo Ladybirds (4-0) came from behind to take down the Rice Consolidated Lady Raiders 44-39 on the road Tuesday night.
The Ladybirds started shakily with the Lady Raiders able to get into the paint and score. The El Campo defense took over to start the second half, erased a Lady Raider lead, and built a cushion they’d carry through the final eight minutes of play.
“I’m happy with the wins because a win is a win,” senior Jackie Nichols said. “They haven’t been pretty wins, but we can get better. (We) can work on our fundamentals and step it up. “We need to make our layups and play better defense,”
The Ladybirds got four points each from Nichols and senior post V’Nisha Malone in the first quarter and edged out the Lady Raiders 12-10.
The Lady Raoders started playing tighter defense and the Ladybirds had a tough time initiating the offense leading to turnovers in the second quarter.
El Campo trailing 19-14, got a three from senior Mya Shorter to stop the Lady Raiders run. El Campo picked up their play over the final four minutes left in the quarter, but the Lady Raiders took the 23-19 lead into the half.
El Campo’s press defense made things tough on Rice Consolidated and forced steals and quick fastbreaks and easy layups. Shorter also got hot in the third quarter, hitting two threes and scoring 12 points. The Ladybirds defense held to five points in the quarter.
“When our defense is on it’s on, (we) have fire and energy,” coach Denise Anderson said. “They find open holes, they’ll go through two defenders, they’ll make crazy passes that make me have a heart attack, but it works. We come out on top (when the defense is there.)”
The Ladybirds press helped them pull ahead 37-28 as the third quarter came to a close.
Over the final eight minutes, the whistle became a factor on both sides
In the quarter, both teams combined to shoot 16 free-throws.
El Campo hit five of their nine free-throws in the quarter to hold off the Lady Raiders.
“We’re still getting the job done,” Anderson said. “The first half we kind of let them get under our skin. It took a half for us to settle down and play our game.”
Shorter finished with a team-high 15 points and Malone added in nine.
In their remaining non-district games and practices, the Ladybirds are looking to continuing improving.
Needing more games, the Ladybirds filled some of their open dates. El Campo will get some much-needed tough competition Tuesday night against the Schulenburg Lady Shorthorns.
Schulenburg is two years removed from being a game away from the 3A state championship game.