A 26-point first quarter fueled the Athens Lady Hornets to a 61-36 pasting of the Rusk Lady Eagles Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Art Farber Memorial Classic at the AHS gym.

In running their season record to 9-4, the Lady Hornets raced out to a 44-17 halftime lead and then put it in cruise control the final two quarters. Rusk outscored AHS 20-17 in the second half, which at one point prompted second-year Lady Hornet coach Keith Durrett to call two quick timeouts to voice his frustration with the effort level.

Still, the Lady Hornets had well more than enough to advance to the semifinals, even with senior point guard Staci Hankins seeing limited playing time due to illness. The Lady Hornets are scheduled to play Martins Mill today at 3 p.m.

Hankins, who had seven points, played all of the first quarter and then very little the rest of the way. But when she was on the floor, the Lady Eagles knew it. Hankins had six assists in the first quarter, four of which resulted in fastbreak layups — three to Alex Furr and the other to Jasmine Blakemore.

Furr had a huge opening quarter, scoring 17 of her game-high 27 points. The sophomore guard scored just three points in the second half, running the offense in Hankins’ absence.

The Lady Hornets led 26-9 after one quarter.

Posts Asha Wilson and Bailey Starkes also turned in solid performances in the opening half. They led the Lady Hornets on the boards and finished with nine points each.

Rusk wasn’t shy about putting up three-pointers. The Lady Eagles also weren’t very accurate, hitting just 2-of-23.

Post Charnell Franklin led the Lady Eagles with 11 points.

Martins Mill and Longview were Friday’s top winners, scoring a pair of wins each. Martins Mill took a 61-41 win over Carthage in the first round and then drilled Palestine for a 61-21 win. Longview crushed Chapel Hill, 90-37, and popped Hawkins, 69-50.

Longview and Valley Mills will meet in the other semifinal today. Valley Mills was a 46-32 winner over Tenaha.

Friday’s varsity games will be a the AHS gym. Saturday’s action moves to Cardinal Gym on the campus at Trinity Valley Community College.

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