The Wharton Lady Tigers won their third consecutive game on the back of J’Kayla Davis’ 25 points earlier this week when they defeated West Columbia, 49-42.
Their home game was part of a varsity doubleheader that saw their male counterparts also gain a victory.
The Lady Tigers improved to 4-3 on the year, all their games non-district, including three contests at the Gander Tip-Off in Baytown last month. Before their three-game win streak, WHS had lost three in a row.
In the first half, the Lady Tigers’ defensive press caused the West Columbia players to become disoriented, leading to turnovers and sometimes points on the other end.
WHS had a seven-point lead in the first quarter after Jadynn Kemper (8 points) scored a three-pointer to go up 15-7. Late in the second quarter, Davis’ trey gave WHS its third seven-point lead.
Coach Ratysha Hardy saw the WHS lead escalate into double digits in the third quarter. Kemper scored a basket each time to give the Lady Tigers a 10 and 11 point leads, the latter with 50 seconds left in the quarter.
But what appeared to be a blowout was anything but as West Columbia came back. It was like seeing two different WHS teams on the court from the third to the fourth quarter.
Down by 11, West Columbia scored 10 unanswered points within three minutes.
Hardy called a timeout at the six-minute mark when WHS had a 39-35 lead.
The Lady Tigers continued to put defensive pressure on West Columbia, and in the final quarter, WHS forced nine turnovers, including two steals.
West Columbia did take its first lead, 39-38, with 5:15 left in the game. Later, the two teams tied at 40-40. West Columbia took its final lead at the 2:03 mark by a 42-41 margin.
WHS scored the game’s final four times. With 1:43 left, Davis forced a turnover and was fouled, making good on two free throws. Davis scored a basket to give WHS a three-point lead. Justaisha Holmes scored a free throw to extend the lead to four. Arianna Rauda put the dagger in the heart of the West Columbia players as she scored on a basket and a foul shot for a 49-42 win.