COPPELL — Hustle points have been the Hebron girls basketball team’s calling card all season, and that same hard-nosed approach helped will the Lady Hawks to a 2-0 start to District 6-6A play on Tuesday.
Holding just a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter, Hebron used its defense and rebounding to gain some much-needed separation from a feisty Coppell bunch and hang on for a 53-44 road district victory.
“We don’t have a girl who’s 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-4 to dump the ball into, so we have to get up and down and create some easy offense for us,” said Lisa Branch, Hebron head coach. “I thought we did a good job with that tonight.”
On Tuesday, that offense was derived mostly from either transition offense generated from Hebron’s stifling press defense or on offensive rebounds, of which the Lady Hawks grabbed 17 against the Cowgirls.
Those second-chance opportunities helped Hebron keep Coppell at arm’s length after a nip-and-tuck middle two quarters, outscoring the Cowgirls 13-6 in the fourth frame. Junior Camille Thomas led the effort on the glass with 12 rebounds, including seven in the fourth quarter to keep numerous possessions alive for the Lady Hawks. She added a game-high 14 points, with six coming in the first quarter as Hebron built a 15-8 lead after one stanza.
“Our press was working early and we were then able to make some adjustments to that press once Coppell adjusted,” Branch said. “I thought our press worked out for us and helped us get some steals for some easy layups. We struggled offensively when we weren’t able to get those layups, but we came out with a lot of good energy early.”
It was a welcome sight for Branch, whose team had been plagued by a series of slow starts in recent weeks. The Lady Hawks, who baited Coppell into 16 turnovers — several as a result of their press — led by as many as 10 points on Tuesday, but the Cowgirls had a response ready. Coppell erased that double-digit lead in five minutes of game time behind a torrent of 3-pointers from junior Chloe Hassman and senior Megan O’Neil — both of whom led the Cowgirls with 13 points apiece — to take a 26-24 lead with 40 seconds left in the first half.
Thomas retaliated with a buzzer-beater to end the second quarter with a 28-26 Hebron lead, only for senior Sierra Dickson (13 points) to come through with a last-second shot of her own to keep the Lady Hawks in front, 40-38, after three quarters.
“We’d get a big lead and then they’d come back, but we expected that. I told the girls that they would play hard for 32 minutes and we couldn’t afford to let up one time,” Branch said. “We wanted to keep the pedal to the metal and keep pressing the ball.”
In victory, the Lady Hawks received nine points from senior Courtlyn Loudermill, plus an eight-assists, four-steal night from sophomore Cammie McKinney and 10 rebounds off the bench from sophomore Alessandra Pantoja.
Coppell, meanwhile, enjoyed some big minutes off the bench from freshman Reagan Engler, who notched 10 points and 10 boards.
“Hats off to Coppell. They’ve got a new coach and we knew it would be tough coming over here,” Branch said. “They have a new voice and a new energy. We had to match that tonight.”
Lady Farmers stun MacArthur
After falling to Flower Mound in its district opener on Friday, Lewisville shook off that setback and managed to take down reigning 6-6A champion Irving MacArthur on Tuesday, 57-56.
The Lady Farmers had no answer for Baylor signee Hannah Gusters, who led all scorers with 26 points, but Lewisville limited the damage enough elsewhere to withstand the Lady Cardinals’ one-woman show.
Lewisville countered with 15 points apiece from Laila Lawrence and Haley Allen, plus 10 points from Deucee Reed, to deal MacArthur its first district loss since joining Lewisville ISD in 6-6A.
The Lady Cardinals’ loss leaves three unbeaten teams in the conference, as rivals Flower Mound and Marcus both improved to 2-0 in district play on Tuesday in blowout fashion.
The Lady Jaguars had their way with Irving in a 70-28 victory, while the Lady Marauders used a 23-point first quarter to pace a 61-25 rout of Irving Nimitz.
Seniors Madison Dowd (14 points) and Bailey Rhoden (10) led the charge for Marcus’ second straight 2-0 district start.
Flower Mound, meanwhile, divvied its scoring among 11 different players on Tuesday, led by 12 points apiece from freshman Madison Cox and sophomore Alexis Adams.