EL CAMPO – Coming to El Campo High School usually ends in a loss for El Campo Ladybird opponents who boast a home record of 24-4 over the last three seasons.
In the comfy confines of Ricebird Gym on Tuesday, Jan. 14, it was no different as they picked up a district win beating the Wharton Lady Tigers, 64-53.
El Campo's shooting guard Mya Shorter heated up in the third quarter and connected on four of her seven three-pointers during the period. Shorter on the night had a game-high 27 points.
"Once I got it going then my teammates got hyped and we were playing together as a team," Shorter said.
Leading 52-32, Jackie Nichols picked a Wharton turnover and fired it up the court to Shorter. With 11 points under her belt in the quarter, Wharton cut off her drive to the rim. So, she backed it out to the three-point line, no one followed, so she launched and swished her fourth three of the quarter.
"I try and tell her all the time if you get an open look let's go ahead and take a couple and see if they're going in," El Campo Coach Gabe Villarreal said. "When she gets into a little groove, the rim must look like a hula hoop to her."
Shorter normally a catch and shoot specialist, hit what would have been a kill shot against most teams. Wharton's defense zeroed in on her and made sure she didn't get free the rest of the game.
To start the fourth, Wharton went on a 10-1 run. The Lady Tigers’ defense caused turnovers and bad shots and the team’s Jadynn Kemper and J'Kayla Davis (11 points between them) helped keep Wharton within a few possessions of El Campo.
A couple of big free-throw makes by El Campo's Tia Hearse kept Wharton at arms-reach down the stretch with the game tightening.
The Ladybirds led the game from start to finish. Wharton threatened and nearly doubled up El Campo in the fourth 16-9, but it wasn't enough to overcome the 20-point lead.
"We dug ourselves too deep (of a whole) in order to fight back," Wharton Coach Ratysha Hardy said. "Even before the adjustment on (Shorter). We should have started off strong and we would have been alright."
El Campo ends the first half of district play with a 4-2 record in third place after beating Wharton. On Friday, Jan. 17, WHS played the Fulshear Lady Chargers to close out the first half of district. With a Wharton win, Fulshear, El Campo and the Lady Tigers will all have a 4-2 district record.
The Ladybirds played the game with a heavy heart after the death of two ECHS classmates – Johnycia Polk and James Russell O'Canas during the weekend.
The two died outside of Garwood after they were involved in a crash.
Police arrested a teenager they say drove recklessly, crashed and then fled the scene.
Polk once was a Ladybird as a freshmen and O'Canas was in assistant coach in Diana Matula class.
"I told the girls before we came out of the locker room, let's play for Johnycia and James," Villarreal said.