Lady Tigers still clinging to playoff spot
The Lady Tigers slipped into a tie for third with their opponents with a 4-4 mark.
Rockdale is 15-9 overall, while College Station lifts its record to 17-12.
Navasota defeated Taylor Tuesday night to move into second place all alone behind league leader Madisonville.
The Lady Ducks fell a game behind Rockdale and College Station at 3-5 and in fifth place. Four teams go to the playoffs.
The Lady Tigers have two remaining games in the regular season: hosting cellar-dweller Caldwell on Friday and then traveling to league leader Madisonville on Tuesday.
Against College Station, both teams turned in a sluggish first half with Rockdale chugging to a 13-12 halftime lead.
College Station led 24-21 after three, but the Lady Tigers were able to tie the game at 24 midway through the fourth.
The Lady Cougars outscored Rockdale 9-2 over the next two minutes to construct a 33-26 lead they would not relinquish as Hughes and Sydni Freeman combined for two straight fastbreak layups.
Three Lady Tigers accounted for the season-low 29 points, led by Velma Mitchell’s 21 points, followed by Dae Dae Robertson’s six points and Emily Norris’ 2.
Mitchell also logged six steals, five rebounds and three blocks. Robertson chipped in nine rebounds.
Rockdale turned the ball over 18 times and had just two assists.
Rae Hughes led College Station with 15 points, 12 coming in the pivotal second half.
The Lady Tigers had felt like they let one get away from them when they lost to Navasota by two points three weeks ago on the road.
They took steps to make sure it wouldn’t be an issue Friday as the Lady Tigers roared to a large early lead in a resounding 44-28 victory over the Lady Rattlers.
In Coach Liz Galloway-Mc- Quitter’s seven seasons as Rockdale coach, it is the first victory over Navasota.
“I have to say, I knew we were ready to play Navasota,” McQuitter said. “But no one could have anticipated them only scoring four points in the first half. What I did anticipate was them coming out in the second half and going all out. I told the team to withstand the waves because they were coming after us.”
Mirroring the weather outside Tiger Gymnasium, Navasota came out stone cold and trailed 30-4 at halftime.
The Lady Rattlers (25-6, 4-3) missed 22 of the 23 shots they took in the first half, their only field goal, a three pointer by Ari White with 3 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first quarter.
Following White’s bomb, Rockdale reeled off 17 straight points as Navasota did not convert a field goal in 10 shots in the second quarter.
Mitchell produced 11 of her game-high 15 points in the first half as the Lady Tigers shot 50 percent from the floor.
In the second half however, it was Rockdale’s turn to cool off.
While the Lady Tigers struggled to get a shot off and turned the ball over nine times, Navasota took advantage and sliced the lead to 31-15 with 3:05 left in the third quarter after an 11-1 run.
Rockdale went 6:19 without a field goal in the period until Robertson’s follow up on her own miss and following free throw made it 34-15.
The Lady Rattlers outscored Rockdale 9-4 to open the final period to pull within 40-26, the closest they were going to get.
Navasota outscored Rockdale 24-14 in the second half.
“We seemed shell shocked for most of the third quarter before we finally settled down and fought to maintain our lead and win the game,” said McQuitter. “The girls had to remember and rely on what got them the lead in the first place. While Navasota shot poorly, our defense contributed to some of that.”
Robertson and Mitchell each put up 15 points, while Robertson yanked down 12 rebounds.
White led Navasota with 10 points as the Lady Rattlers shot 19 percent (10-of-51) from the floor on the evening.
“We executed offensively in the first half,” said McQuitter. “In the second half, the game was more up and down because Navasota was in a frenzy to come back.
“I am so proud of how the team settled down and secured the win. Everyone played and what they have to realize is that each one of the possessions mattered, whether they scored, got a rebound, an assist, or simply did not turn the ball over. In the end, everything mattered.”