After splitting their first two contests of the season on the road, the Brownwood Lady Lions kicked off the home portion of the 2020-21 basketball schedule with a triumph over first-year Class 4A program Lake Belton, 58-39, Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
“We played well in spurts and that’s something I talked with them about at halftime and after the game,” said 12th-year head coach Heather Hohertz. “We played when we wanted to play and I told them we can’t flip a switch on and off. That’s kind of how we practiced yesterday. We’re still trying to find our identity and I think we started to establish what we want that to be and we want to be known as a scrappy team. You saw it in spurts defensively, you saw it in spurts offensively, but we have to put a more consistent game together.”’
Having scored no more than 33 points in either of their first two games, the Lady Lions eclipsed that mark before halftime as Brownwood carried a 34-20 edge into the locker room at the break.
The Lady Lions shot 37 percent (22 of 59) from the floor, including 26 percent (5 of 19) from three-point land. Brownwood also converted 64 percent (9 of 14) of its free throws.
Kynslee Walker led the offensive charge with 17 points trailed by nine each from Brooke Price and Naysa Leach, seven apiece from Jaylen Savage and Mady Pyle, four from Lindsey Larose, three from CarolAnn Hetzel and two points from Tessa Goodwin.
“Kynslee attacked the basket how we needed her to and then she knocked down some big threes, and we’ve worked on that with her which is just catching and shooting,” Hohertz said. “Naysa really attacked the basket, she missed a few free throws, but I really liked her aggressiveness going to the basket. We have to get our bigs going. With the offense we’re in, the bigs have to crash the boards and clean up and put back offensive rebounds.”
Defensively, the Lady Lions forced 27 turnovers and allowed no more than 11 points in any quarter – that coming in the first. Over the final three periods, Lake Belton recorded single digits in each frame.
Sydni Cartwright and Madison Lux each finished with 10 points to pace the Lake Belton offense.
“Our defensive effort was good in spurts,” Hohertz said. “In the second quarter we came out solid, and also in the third quarter, but toward the end of the third quarter we looked up at the scoreboard and relaxed. I challenged them going into the fourth quarter to quit standing, play defense and finish out the game the right way and I think we did that for a little bit. There’s a lot of things we can still clean up, and we have to sustain a solid effort the entire four quarters on the defensive end and not just decide when we want to flip that switch on and off.”
Leading 12-11 late in the first period, Leach scored in the paint with four seconds left to boost Brownwood’s advantage to 14-11 at the end of the quarter, and ignite a string of 14 straight Lady Lion points.
Brownwood stretched its lead to 26-11 with 4:43 left before halftime as the Lady Lions recorded six points at the free throw line, while Savage, Price and Goodwin added buckets to pad the lead. The Lady Lions also held Lake Belton without a point for a 4:02 span during the run.
Up 14 points at halftime, the Lady Lions continued to stretch the advantage as a bucket from Price at the 4:42 mark of the third period pushed the lead over 20 points, 41-20. A late surge from Lake Belton trimmed Brownwood’s lead to 43-30 after three quarters.
Walker buried a three-pointer for the first points of the fourth quarter with 6:16 to go, extending Brownwood’s lead to 46-30 and starting a 13-2 run that clinched the victory. The Lady Lions’ lead peaked at the end of the run, as a bucket from Leach made the score 56-32 with 3:38 remaining.
The Lady Lions (2-1) are back in action at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Lorena, and again at 3:15 Saturday at Bangs.