Lady Tigers get their Goats
But when you adopt a winning attitude, things seem to work out for the best.
The No. 23 Rockdale Lady Tigers sprung out to a large lead and then hung on for a 46-38 victory over Groesbeck Friday night at Tiger Gymnasium.
The Lady Tigers lifted their record to 11- 5 on the season, the most victories by a Rockdale team since 2006.
Rockdale doesn’t play again until Dec. 28 in the Cameron Chamber Christmas Classic.
“It’s a big win,” said Rockdale Coach Liz Galloway-McQuitter. “But, I am disappointed that we missed some shots early, a lot of easy layups.
“I was concerned when we were getting turnovers and weren’t capitalizing on them.”
The Lady Tigers shot 33 percent from the floor (14-of- 42) including 9-of-30 in the first half.
They were outrebounded by the taller Lady Goats 39-21 and collected just seven offensive boards.
“It was our defense that won the game for us,” McQuitter said. “It gave us an oppurtunity to finally settle in and hit some shots and build a lead.”
Freshman Velma Mitchell and senior Victoria Drake handled most of the scoring for Rockdale, accounting for 35 of its 46 points.
Mitchell dropped in 22 points, while Drake supplemented her with 13.
They were also a force on defense, with nine steals between them (Drake 6, Mitchell 3).
The Lady Tigers struggled from the free throw line as well, missing 16-of-31 shots with the exception of Drake, who logged eight of her 12 points at the charity stripe and sank four-of-six in the final 1 minute, 44 seconds to stave off Groesbeck’s comeback bid.
“ The lesson here though is that we will not beat many teams missing 16 free throws and shooting so poorly,” said McQuitter. “ This is what happened to us in every one of our losses. We have to fix this before district play (at Navasota Jan. 6).”
The Lady Goats (6-10) didn’t fare much better, missing 55 of the 67 shots they took (18 percent) and 18-of-32 free throws (43 percent).
Senior for ward DeShontay Jackson led Groesbeck with seven points and 11 boards despite going 2-for-19 from the floor.
Rockdale broke open a tie game in the first quarter by holding the Lady Goats without a field goal for almost five minutes in the middle of the second quarter and reeling off nine themselves.
The streak included four straight free throws from Drake who was fouled on a shot and then officials called Groesbeck’s Jacoya McCullen for a technical foul which added two more free shots.
Mitchell’s trey from the left side and Jill Young’s jumper from the free throw line provided the Lady Tigers with their first doubledigit lead of the night, 23-13, with 1:57 left before half.
Drake’s basket at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter provided Rockdale with its largest lead of the evening, 31-17, but the Lady Tigers went the rest of the quarter without a field goal and escaped the drought with a 32-22 lead heading into the final period.
Despite going the final 4:41 without a basket, the Lady Tigers survived at the free throw line, sinking eight-of-16.
Groesbeck outscored Rockdale 10-1 during a 1:45 minute span and sliced the Lady Tigers’ once 14-point lead to 42-38 with 2 minutes remaining to be played.
Drake’s five free throws to close out the game and her steal with 59 seconds left kept the Lady Goats from completing the comeback.
“ We also made plays—some big—throughout the game and down the stretch when it counted,” McQuitter said.
“Fatigue set in because Victoria and Velma got out early and were pushing the ball up the court a lot, but we held them off and handled their press very well.”