The Athens Review
Any day you win the first game of a tournament is a good day — unless that win earns you a meeting with one of the biggest basketball powerhouses in the state.
Such was the journey of the Athens Lady Hornets (5-6) on the first day of the Great East Texas Shootout. They opened the tournament with a convincing 51-39 win over the Westwood Lady Panthers, then stumbled hard against the Martins Mill Lady Mustangs, 68-25, to end their first day. Martins Mill (10-1) is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 1A Division I.
The split left the Lady Hornets with a 4:30 p.m. game Friday against an opponent that will not be determined until early Friday. The game will be held in the Brownsboro Elementary gym, where they defeated Westwood (7-6).
The Lady Hornets broke open an eight-point game with a solid defensive second half. After watching 6-0 Westwood post Marialle Boles score 11 first-half points, the Lady Hornets doubled down in the paint in the second half. Head coach Dee Evans continuously urged her players to get tough on the interior, daring the Lady Panthers to fire away from the perimeter. The tactic worked, as the Lady Panthers went 1 of 11 from the field in the third quarter and 3 of 15 in the fourth. Boles was held scoreless in the second half.
The Lady Panthers tried to execute a defensive game plan of their own, with head coach Brandi McEnturff rotating three players into the game in an attempt to slow down Athens senior guard Demi Cumby. Cumby still finished with 24 points. Cari Aguilera scored 15 and pulled down seven rebounds, and Shelby Sims and Bryla Barker netted four points each. Sims had three of the Lady Hornets’ six blocks.
The Lady Hornets got off to a slow start against Martins Mill, falling behind 10-0 over the first two minutes and 28-5 by the end of the first quarter. The Lady Mustangs, who have won the tournament two years in a row, led 45-15 at the half.
Aguilera led the Lady Hornets with 10 points. Leah Lawrence had seven and Cumby pitched in six.