Lady Titans rally after halftime to defeat West
Victoria East wasn't shooting well, was turning the ball over and was getting out-rebounded by Victoria West in the first half of their District 30-4A game.
So with the offensive woes leading to an 18-17 deficit, East coach Yulonda Wimbish-North's instructions were all about defense.
"We stressed that our defensive intensity was not being the way it was in our last two district games and how we kind of started slow," Wimbish-North said. "We needed to pick that up and the end of the defensive play is you need to box out."
The Lady Titans turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and rallied for a 41-37 win on Tuesday night at the East gym.
"Coach just really put in our heads that we have to put on defensive pressure," said East post Kendall Carter. "That is the key to our game and she told us that we needed to control the dribbler and we needed to box out and rebound."
Carter had 15 points and six rebounds, and Ramaya Dean added nine points, 10 rebounds and six steals as East (10-6, 3-0) remained perfect in district play.
"As a team we kind to tend to know about other teams," Carter said. "We just need to come out ready to play every game. We can't start good the second half like we did last year. We need to jump on them from the very beginning playing hard-core defense and being 100 percent the whole game."
Neither team was on its game in the first half, as both struggled to make shots. The Warriors (15-8, 0-2) were able to break the East press, but had trouble converting on the offensive end.
"It's something that we worked on and it's something that we'll continue to work on," said West coach Sandra Jimenez.
The Lady Titans had trouble against West's 1-2-2 zone defense before doing a better job of getting the ball inside in the second half.
"A zone sometimes we've got to get into it," Wimbish-North said. "I think Sonya (Acuna) started feeling a little comfortable. Bre (Williams) struggled some. When she's struggling a lot of people are like,'Oh my God.' So other people have to step up and look for shots. I think our guards started doing a good job of getting it into the post."
East took the lead for good on a turnaround shot by Carter with 4:38 left in the third quarter. The Lady Titans stretched the advantage to 39-29 on a free throw by Dean with 3:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But a layup by Acuna was the only time the Lady Titans scored again, allowing West to make a late run.
"This is such a rival game that sometimes you can get too emotional," Wimbish-North said. "I really don't have an answer for it because every time we've played West it's kind of been this way."
The Warriors hurt themselves by missing 7 of 10 free throws, including the front end of two one-and-ones in the final 2:03.
"It's the same thing I've been telling them all year long," Jimenez said. "We've got to play a complete game. We've got to play for 32 minutes. We've got to quit turning the ball over at the worst times and then free throws are crucial."