Victoria East's Sonya Acuna, left, reaches for a ball that she and Bre Williams, right, knocked out of the hands of Tuloso-Midway's Lexie Ruiz during the first quarter of Tuesday's game at Victoria East gym.
Photo by Angeli Wright.
As of Thursday, December 13, 2012
It seemed like an innocent layup, in a contest that would be filled with them.
But when Bre Williams converted a turnover into an easy bucket with just under 40 seconds left in the first quarter, it gave Victoria East a lead it would never relinquish in its District 30-4A opener against Tuloso-Midway.
Over the next three minutes, the Lady Titans defense turned up the thermometer on a 9-0 run.
From there, the lead grew and grew until the Lady Titans ran away with a 65-47 victory over the No. 18 Cherokees.
Victoria East (8-6, 1-0) won its fifth straight game due to its effort on the defensive end. At the beginning of the second quarter, Lady Titans coach Yulonda Wimbish-North and assistant Mike Smith could be heard telling the Lady Titans to lock up No. 3 - Cherokees point guard Cami Horman.
"I'm really pleased with how they went out with the defensive intensity we talked about," Wimbish-North said. "We were very aggressive on the offensive boards. That's the best we've done."
East produced 18 steals on the night many of which came as they doubled teamed Horman while she attempted to bring the ball up the court.
"To spark our defense we have to (pressure) the ball handler," said East post Kendall Carter, who scored 12 points and added nine rebounds. "Kamri (Hardeman) did a great job of making the ball handler uncomfortable. That did a great up of setting up our offense."
This was vividly evident with 5:03 left in the second quarter the bench called an inbounds play beneath the East basket with the Lady Titans leading by four points.
When the Titans missed three shots inside of three feet, Smith turned to someone in the crowd and said, "That's as close as we can get," following the third miss. After the third miss a jump ball was called when Ramaya Dean was tied up with a Cherokee under the basket.
A quick steal on the ensuring possession set up one Lady Titans bucket. Another steal led to Hardeman getting to the free throw line. The lead was 21-14 at that point and Tuloso-Midway never any closer.
East's lead swelled to 34-21 at halftime.
After playing 12 of its previous 13 games on the road, Carter said her team was eager to come back to Victoria and play well in front of its fans. All five starters scored in double figures. Hardeman led the Lady Titans with 13 points. She added six steals, six assists and four rebounds.
"Everyone was relentless going on the offensive boards from post to guard," Wimbish-North said. "We really did that well. It gave us second chance points and created problems for them."