As Mesquite Horn converted an offensive rebound into a Vernell Atamah 3-pointer to open the scoring in Tuesday’s non-district game against Lake Dallas, it was a tell-tale sign for how the remainder of the contest was going to unfold.
The Lady Jaguars used a combination of strong offensive rebounding and relentless ball pressure to force the Lady Falcons into 23 turnovers in a 63-37 rout.
“Horn has a very talented, well-coached team,” said Jordan Davis, Lake Dallas head coach. “Their pressure, their defense is something that really bothered us. Honestly, I don’t feel like it was our best effort. We’re playing tough teams and people that help us get better. Without Mackenzie (Buss) bringing the ball up, it puts a lot of pressure on others that haven’t necessarily been there. We’ve just got to put a better effort out there and take a little more pride in our defense and making stops.”
Fresh off earning a 64-53 win against previously state-ranked Ponder, Lake Dallas (5-4) looked to carry over that momentum into Tuesday’s home game against Horn. But Lake Dallas wasn’t able to get on track offensively, and the Lady Falcons had as many points as they did turnovers during the first half: 15.
Lake Dallas kept it close early. Junior Altyn Bartley made a short handoff to junior Camryn Richardson as Richardson cut towards the basket and buried a running jump shot to cut the deficit to 4-2 with 5:50 left in the first quarter.
But that was as close as the Lady Falcons got.
Horn went to a full-court press, and it was a schematic change that gave Lake Dallas fits. The Lady Jaguars converted steals into points and they also capitalized on several second-chance opportunities. Junior Camden Harston banked a jump shot off the backboard to cap off a 13-0 run for Horn, giving the Lady Jaguars a commanding 17-2 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
Harstson finished with 12 points. Dalonna Choice had the hot hand for Horn, pouring in a team-high 17 points to lead a balanced scoring effort for the Lady Jaguars. In all, nine different players from Horn (6-5) found their way into the scorebook. Dasia Robinson contributed 15 points.
Lake Dallas senior Jorja Elliott buried a 3-pointer with 53 ticks left on the clock to break a four-minute scoring drought for the Lady Falcons. Elliott did all that she could to keep Lake Dallas in the ballgame, finishing with a team-high 17 points.
Elliott brought Lake Dallas to within 19-8 after she converted a running jump shot while being fouled and subsequent free throw to complete the three-point play.
The Lady Falcons had chances to cut further into the Lady Jaguars’ lead. One reason for hope for Lake Dallas was its switch to a zone defense. Horn tallied just 11 points in the second frame, but Lake Dallas' inability to score points allowed the Lady Jaguars to increase their lead to 30-15 at halftime.
Horn picked up where it had left off at the end of the first half with Harston making back-to-back jump shots to open the third quarter. The Lady Jaguars, who were slowed by the zone defense by the Lady Falcons in the second quarter, found their rhythm as the game progressed and made an array of perimeter shots in the second half to turn the game into a rout.
Lake Dallas is at a tournament in Kileen this weekend and will return to the comforts of Lake Dallas Field House next Tuesday for a 6 p.m. home game against Little Elm. Horn is in Fort Worth this weekend for a tournament and will host Mansfield Summit at 6 p.m. Tuesday.