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Lady Hornets sting Yellowjackets 62-48 for Bi-district title
LUFKIN—The Goodrich Lady Hornets defeated the Laneville Yellowjackets 62-48 to post their first playoff victory under head coach Ursula Hill who is in her second season at the helm of the Lady Hornets. Coach Hill inherited a very young team following the departure of long time coach Pinellafie Gilford who left to join the Huntsville staff. Despite their youth they made the playoffs last season but was stymied in the first round. This year the more seasoned Lady Hornets took care of business. They never trailed Laneville, but the Yellowjackets did pull to within one point midway in the third frame. The Lady Hornets answered and outscored the 'Jackets 26-13 in the final 12 minutes of the ballgame to win the Class 1A Division II Bi-district title "I think everybody, and especially me had a bunch of jitters, but they got through it. I had to remind them to take a deep breath, relax, put the ball in if it's there, if it's not, get it to a teammate." The Lady Hornets were led by the one-two punch of sophomore Kristian James and freshman Denedra Taylor who scorched the boards for 33 and 22 points, respectively. Junior Rosalind Harrell pitched in five points and freshman Ashley Pierce tallied two points in the win. James and teammate Karen Andrade were the top rebounders with 11 and 10 boards, respectively. Both Taylor and Harrell had six rebounds apiece. Pierce grabbed five rebounds and Artasia Wyatt hauled down four rebounds. James was also the leader with two steals and seven assists. Andrade picked up one steal and dished out two assists. Wyatt had one steal and one assist and Harrell was credited with one steal. Undefeated Calvert The youthful Hornets had their biggest test of their young careers on Friday night when they were scheduled to take on the undefeated 27-0 Calvert Lady Trojans for the Area championship. Even though it's a tall task, the Lady Hornets are hungry for more playoff wins. "I told them it's one game at a time," said Coach Hill. "On our next menu we've got Calvert, so we're looking at the menu now and we're just trying to fill ourselves up. Hopefully, we won't get full until we get to Austin." Coach Hill knows the Lady Hornets are in for a battle but remains optimistic "They're very, very quick and athletic. They're 27-0 and haven't had a loss yet, so we're looking to hand them their first loss. It will be a good challenge for us, and I'm hoping we step up to the plate." Chemistry is what the Lady Hornet coach is hoping to instill in her young ballclub that has just one junior, along with four sophomores and two freshman. "If they get in the gym, work hard and get used to being on the floor together they'll develop team chemistry. "The two freshman are really a big impact for us now and throwing them into the starting five, once they get that chemistry, I feel like we'll be where we need to be." First half A steal and layup by leading scorer Kristian James got the Lady Hornets rolling 2-0 with 7:22 on the clock. James later tossed to Denedra Taylor who scored the first of her 22 points at the 6:28 mark to lead 4-0. James went full court to score another layup to make it 6-2. A pair of free throws by Taylor and a putback bucket by Ashley Pierce extended the lead to 10-4 with 2:28 on the clock. James finished the frame by scoring on a short jumper and driving the baseline to give Goodrich a 14-7 lead after one quarter. James continued her sure fire scoring in the second frame by contributing 13 of the Lady Hornets 17 points, including a 3-point play that gave Goodrich a double digit lead of 11 points (23-12) with 3:43 left in the half. James added another pair of hoops with a short baseline jumper and one near the free throw line to extend the Hornet lead to 27-16 with 2:18 on the clock. Denedra Taylor scored a basket following an inbounds pass under the bucket to give the Hornets a 29-19 lead with 1:41 left in the half. James netted a final jumpshot and Laneville scored three points to make it a nine point game at the break, 31-22. Second half The Yellowjackets had a quick start to the second half and outscored the Hornets 13-5 in the first 3-1/2 minutes to pull to within one point (36-35) with 4:35 on the clock. Scoring for Goodrich were Rosalind Harrell who scored off an assist by Artasia Wyatt plus pitched in one free throw. Teammate Taylor also scored on a fast break layup from an assist by James. The Lady Hornets answered the bell and outscored Laneville 8-1 the remainder of the quarter to take a 44-36 lead into the final frame. The Hornets would eliminate any suspense to the outcome by starting red hot in the fourth with an 8-2 run to extend their lead to 16 points (54-38) with 5:22 on the clock. James deposited four free throws and Taylor hit back-to-back treys during the run. Both James and Taylor would add another hoop before the final buzzer sounded. Rounding out the scoring for Goodrich were teammates Ashley Pierce and Rosalind Harrell who scored off assists from Taylor and Andrade.
Denedra Taylor (20) scores a layup for Goodrich in playoff action
Freshman Ashley Pierce of Goodrich in action against Laneville
Kristian James grabs a rebound for Goodrich during Bi-district playoff action