The El Campo Ladybirds (16-5, 1-1) Monday night at home routed the Stafford Lady Spartans 74-45.
Behind a big double-double of 31 points and 13 rebounds from junior point guard Jackie Nichols, the Ladybirds quickly got the lead and blew through the Lady Spartans. Nichols also contributed three assists and three steals.
After losing their first district game to the Fulshear Lady Chargers before the holiday break, the Ladybirds not only avenged that loss but had their best offensive performance of the season, scoring 16 points more than any other game this year.
“I care that we lost and I used it to push us to be a better team,” Nichols said.
While the Ladybirds beat Stafford by 29 points, the defense wasn’t able to completely put the game away. The Ladybirds pushed the Lady Spartans out to the three-point line for a majority of the game, but they didn’t close out hard on shooters and Stafford launched a lot of threes, making a few.
“All and all, there were somethings that need to be cleaned up,” Ladybirds Coach Gabe Villarreal said. “I thought early on we came out and made our presence known and then we started to make a few mistakes and let them cut back into (the lead).”
Stafford’s defense offered little resistance and was content to go punch for punch with the Ladybirds offense and Nichols took full advantage.
Nichols’, speed was no match for Stafford. The junior guard normally pushes the pace for the Ladybirds and passes off to Mya Shorter and others. Stafford gave her runs to the rim, often unimpeded, resulting in a career-high 31 points.
“She played very well for us,” Villarreal said. “That was a big-time game for her. She can do things with her athletic-ability to get to the rim a lot if she chooses.”
Shorter chipped in 17 points and V’Nisha Malone scored 10 points and six rebounds.
At the end of the first quarter, the Ladybirds led 18-12 and that would be the closest Stafford would get for the rest of the game.
The Ladybirds breezed through non-district play and the loss to Fulshear opened their eyes. Stafford’s win gave them a look at what they can do when the offense is clicking and they are knocking down layups and free-throws.
El Campo will play Brookshire Royal at home Tuesday.