Short-handed Lady Tigers cut off by Cougars
Missing three key players, the Lady Tigers were outlasted 54-37 by Austin Crockett Friday night in Tiger Gymnasium.
Rockdale’s leading scorer, rebounder and defensive force Shelby Evans has left the team.
In the absence of Velma Mitchell, the 6-foot Evans was leading the Lady Tigers with 12 points and six rebounds a game and was a shot blocking specialist on defense.
Mitchell, Rockdale’s leading scorer last season, is still recovering from foot surgery and did not suit out Friday against Crockett.
The Lady Tigers were also missing post player Taylor Pickett who was sick.
“I saw some encouraging signs in spite of missing those three key players,” said Rockdale Coach Liz Galloway-McQuitter. “We have to regroup, readjust, and keep our focus on getting better.”
The Lady Tigers dip to 5-9 on the season and do not suit up again until Dec. 27 at the Cameron Tournament.
Class 4A Crockett improved to 6-12 and had lost five straight and 7-of-8 coming in.
The Lady Tigers had no answer for the Cougars’ 6-foot point guard Jordyn Holmes, who pulled the trigger on 28 points, while gathering up 11 rebounds, five steals and four blocks.
Holmes was 13-of-23 from the floor and had logged 18 points by intermission as Crockett constructed a 16-point lead.
Without their top two scorers, Emily Norrs tried to take up the slack with 10 points and was perfect from the floor on five shots.
Lexi Rober tson fol lowed with seven points, while post Samantha Muston played the entire game and led Rockdale in rebounding with eight.
Thirty-six of the Lady Tigers’ 37 points came from in the paint.
Rockdale turned the ball over 25 times and missed 14 free throws, further hampering their efforts.
Trailing by as much as 16 in the final two periods, the Lady Tigers pulled within 10 points twice, but could get no closer.
Lexi Robertson’s basket and free throw, Ansley Jenkins’ three-pointer from the right corner and Norris’ short jumper in the lane pulled Rockdale within 36-26 with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Lady Cougars were 1-for- 14 from the floor in the quarter, but Rockdale could not take advantage.
Trailing 44-29 in the early moments of the final period, Muston’s layup, Robertson’s free throw and Norris’ bucket from the free throw line pulled the Lady Tigers within 10 again, with four minutes remaining to be played.
Crockett outscored Rockdale 10-3 to close out the game.
“In some ways. I was proud of individual performances, but we fell short in other ways,” said McQuitter. “For example stepping up our defense and keying in on their best player. No one else might notice, but we did not execute our primary and secondary breaks very well.”