The Lady Mustangs faced a young but hungry Hightower squad that struggled early, but gave Lamar a good fight in the second half as Lamar won 65-52 on Tuesday night at Mustang Gym.
The win keeps Lamar in second place in District 24-5A and gives the Lady Mustangs more confidence as they head down the stretch of the regular season.
Despite dropping five of its first six games of the season, the Lady Hurricanes still have young talented players and a deep bench. And Hightower showed flashes of strength in the second half, rallying from a 15-point deficit to cut Lamar’s lead to seven.
“(Hightower’s) incredible, they have an army,” Lamar head coach James Frazier said. “They keep coming at you in waves. And as soon as you let up, they’re coming.”
The Lady Mustangs relied on its starting five most of the game to build an early big lead. Senior forward Taylor Jarrels was able to penetrate the Hightower defense and get high percentage shots up close. She scored 12 points in the first half and had a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds.
“She’s talented and can go 1-on-1 with just about anybody,” Frazier said about Jarrels.
Along with Jarrels, senior forward Desiree Rodgers was also big in the paint, scoring eight points in the first half as Lamar scored 22 points in the second quarter to take a 34-19 lead at halftime.
Senior guard Hannah Humphrey also had a good scoring night, using her speed to outrun defenders on fast breaks. She scored three layups in the third quarter to help Lamar take a 44-26 lead late in the third quarter. But Madison Bob, Hightower’s freshman forward, hit two three-pointers and scored nine points in the quarter to help the Lady ’Canes cut the deficit to 12 heading into the fourth quarter.
Junior guard A’leah Franklin hit a trey to put Hightower within nine early in the fourth quarter. But Jarrels, who played the fourth quarter in foul trouble, came back into the game and scored two big buckets to help Lamar reestablish control of the game. Junior guard Aliyah Solis scored six points in the quarter for the Lady Mustangs to pull away late.
Humphrey had 17 points, while Solis had 12 points and Rodgers added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Lamar. Junior guard Jada Grigsby led Hightower with 14 points, with Bob and freshman forward Tiyianna Coulter-Hill both scoring 12 points apiece and Franklin added eight.
Lamar moved to 13-2 overall and 9-2 in district play, while Hightower fell to 6-7 overall and 5-6 in district.
Next for Lamar is a trip to Willowridge on Friday night.