Lady Tigers rough up Taylor in crucial victory
The Lady Tigers recorded a pivotal victory Tuesday night, tormenting Taylor 64-34 on the road.
The win pushes Rockdale to 14-8 overall and 3-3 in district play with four games remaining on the schedule.
Taylor slips to 13-11 and 3-3.
Madisonville remains on top at 5-0 followed by Navasota at 4-2.
Defense played a large part in the victory as the Lady Ducks never reached double digits in any quarter.
The Lady Tigers got off to a quick start, leading 19-9 after the first quarter and 35-18 at the break.
Velma Mitchell poured in 20 points to lead Rockdale and made her presence known all over the court with nine steals, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Alix Hoffman added 10 points.
Sitting on top of the leader board in District 18-3A, Madisonville literally threw its weight around as a bulky Lady Mustang squad pushed the Lady Tigers around Friday night at Tiger Gymnasium 45-34.
The Lady Mustangs (12-5, 5-0) out rebounded Rockdale 24-9, with the Lady Tigers gathering up just two offensive boards.
“I thought we played well for the most part,” said Rockdale Coach Liz Galloway-McQuitter. “We stalled offensively, which has been an Achilles heel for us most of the year.
“Madisonville made key plays down the stretch and we had some big turnovers and defensive breakdowns in what was otherwise an evenly matched game. They were able to capitalize and therefore get the win.”
Rockdale kept the game within two points most of the second quarter and the outset of the third quarter until a 6-0 run to close out the third period gave Madisonville some much needed breathing room.
Velma Mitchell ripped a three-pointer from the right corner, followed by a pair of baskets from Taylor Pickett and the Lady Tigers trailed 28-26.
Then an Amber Byrd basket and consecutive buckets from Jasmine Shaffer produced a 34-26 Madisonville lead after three.
Tootie Nealey’s basket to open the final stanza provided the first double-digit lead of the evening, 36-26.
Rockdale went the first half of the quarter without a field goal and relied on accuracy from the free throw line to stay close, including three straight from Ansley Jenkins after she was fouled behind the arc.
Dae Dae Robertson’s followup with 2 minutes, 5 seconds remaining to make it 40-34 was as close as the Lady Tigers could get.
Mitchell supplied 12 points, while Robertson contributed seven.
Byrd led the defending district champions with 16 points and also grabbed nine boards.
“I really do not know if the team realized how close they were to being able to win the district,” McQuitter said. “It is as evenly matched as it has ever been since I have been at Rockdale. As a coach, one can tell them, but they have to see it and I think they know it now. We are in control of our own destiny and totally capable of changing the standings after this week alone.”