Lady Tigers push Navasota to limit
There’s no better way to prove it than to play the best.
An inspired Lady Tiger team pushed No. 17 Navasota to the limit Friday night at Tiger Gym before falling 46-43.
Rockdale dips to 15-11 on the season and 2-4 in District 23- 3A, while Navasota improves to 24-6 and 5-1, rebounding from a loss to league-leading Giddings Friday.
The Lady Tigers have four games remaining and realistically would probably need to win-out to qualify for a playoff position.
“I thought we played great,” said Rockdale Coach Liz Galloway McQuitter. “They believed they could win, we just didn’t pull it off.
“If we play like we did tonight the rest of the way, I don’t have to worry.”
Navasota easily handled Rockdale 51-31 in the first round matchup, but on their home court, the Lady Tigers were gunning for an upset.
With Victoria Drake and Velma Mitchell combining for 12 of the Lady Tigers’ first 14 points, they sprinted to a 14-4 first quarter lead and then pushed ahead 20-8 midway through the second quarter after Drake’s short jumper from the left side with 4 minutes, 45 seconds left.
It was their last basket of the first half.
Frustrated, the Rattlers began to successfully full court press Rockdale and thanks to 11 costly Lady Tiger turnovers, were able to snag the lead 25-22 by intermission.
C oming out of t he brea k , Rockdale steadfastly worked to regain the lead.
Close- in baskets from Jill Young, Shelby Evans and Mitchell pushed the Lady Tigers ahead again and they led 33-30 heading into the last stanza.
Rockdale was once again forced to play without Mitchell who went to the bench at the end of the third quarter with four fouls and remained there until midway through the fourth quarter.
Ginny Flores took up some of the scoring slack with two huge baskets from the left side, followed by another jumper from Drake for a 39-32 lead with 5:49 remaining to be played.
It would be their last field goal of the evening.
Again, turnovers plagued Rockdale and eight turnovers played right into Navasota’s waiting hands.
Free throws by Flores and Mitchell left Rockdale ahead 42-40 with 3:11 showing until a Alexus Freeman steal and basket put the Lady Rattlers up for good, 44-42.
The Lady Tigers had ample opportunities to regain the lead. After a Visha Henderson free throw cut it to 44-43, Freeman swiped another pass to stamp out a Rockdale threat.
Tae’ Lattimore’s two free throws made it 46-43 with 16 seconds remaining, but a Rockdale turned it back over with six seconds left.
Lattimore left the door open a crack after missing two free throws with five seconds left and Mitchell missed a desperation three as the buzzer sounded.
Drake (three steals) and Mitchell (four rebounds) led Rockdale with 12 points apiece.
Freeman pumped in 19 for Navasota.
The Lady Tigers recovered from a loss to Giddings with a narrow 39-34 victory over Caldwell on the road.
Rockdale could not shake the Lady Hornets (3-26, 0-5) before escaping with the victory in the low scoring affair.
Drake produced 16 points and seven rebounds to pace the Lady Tigers.
Tuesday’s results: Navasota 46, Rockdale 43; Giddings 58, LaGrange 26;
Friday’s results: Rockdale 39, Caldwell 36; Giddings 69, Navasota 52; Smithville 46, LaGrange 39.
LADY TIGER SEASON STATS