TEXARKANA, Texas — Clinging to a 4-point advantage at halftime, Liberty-Eylau turned up the intensity in the third quarter and cruised past North Lamar in a District 15-4A girls basketball game.
The Lady Leopards' full-court press defense resulted in several turnovers and easy baskets, and the Lady Panthers were chasing L-E the entire second half of a 59-50 Leopard win Friday at the Rader Dome.
"I'm proud of the way the girls came out of halftime and played," Liberty-Eylau coach LaMarcus Franklin said. "One of the things that we talked about was to come out fast and jump on them early.
"In the first half, we weren't getting that backside block (underneath the basket) once they broke our press and we switched to man-to-man defense. At halftime, we made the adjustment and told the girls to just play hard, and they responded."
Tamara Norris had a putback for Liberty-Eylau (13-6, 1-1) just 18 seconds into the third quarter, and after a score at the other end of the court, the Leopards rattled off seven points in a row capped by Kayla Crabtree's 3-pointer at 4:34 to extend the lead to double digits (31-20).
Another 7-1 run by L-E pushed it to 15 points (38-23) with 2:14 remaining in the third. The Leopards led by 13 (40-27) to start the fourth quarter, and seven different players scored for the home team in the third period.
In the final quarter, a pair of Lady Panther treys cut their deficit to 10 points twice, but both were answered by Liberty-Eylau gaining a 13-point advantage, the first at 47-34 and then at 50-37 with 4:10 left to play.
North Lamar finally cut it to single digits at 50-41 with 3:18 remaining, but Bryana Black hit four straight free throws for the Leopards and Myah Hurd went coast-to-coast from a defensive rebound to a driving layup to extend the lead to 15 again.
"We've been working a lot on our fast break and getting the ball out and up the floor and running the court," Franklin said. "I was excited to see us find the open girl in transition.
"In the first half, we were a little impatient with our offense; we were trying to rush in and throw up shots. In the third quarter, we moved the ball around and worked for good shots. It was a good team effort; we got a lot of girls involved, saw the energy go up and when that happens, good things fall into place."
Block led L-E with 14 points, Hurd added 13, Norris had 10 and Crabtree nine.
Mylee Nottingham scored 13 for the Panthers, and Maddie Walters had 12.
Liberty-Eylau grabbed a 13-5 lead in the first quarter, but NL claimed the second period with a 13-9 rally to go into intermission down 22-18.
The Leopard junior varsity built a 15-0 lead in the first quarter and won 25-22 with Bre Adams scoring 12 for L-E.
Liberty-Eylau travels to Pleasant Grove Tuesday.