For most of the night, the Boling Lady Bulldogs and the East Bernard Brahmarettes traded baskets and the lead back and forth.
The Brahmarettes got 11 points from senior guard Zoey Talas in the fourth quarter helping them separate late and win their second district meeting against the Lady Bulldogs, 55-45, in Boling on Friday, Jan. 15.
“It’s a harder game when you are at their house, so the intensity was much more challenging,” Talas said. “Once we started getting into our rhythm our team started to play much better.”
The Lady Bulldogs got strong showings from freshman guard Savannah Savage and sophomore post Madison Malone. Savage scored 17 points while Malone added 16, getting a lot of her scoring on rebounds in the second half.
East Bernard’s offense picked up points in the paint on layups and knocked down shots from the three-point line. Freshman point guard Abby Hudgins hit three three-pointers and scored 11 points. Talas led all scorers with 20 points and connecting on one three.
“We actually shot better tonight than we have all year,” Brahmarettes coach Steven Smith said. “Boling’s coach Jonathan Gibson did a heck of a job defensively throwing different things at us and he did a good job at attacking our half-court press. The difference was we hit shots we normally don’t make.”
Malone started the third quarter with back-to-back layups turning a one-point deficit into a Boling 32-29 lead. The Lady Bulldogs forced East Bernard into tough shots. Brahmarettes junior post Samantha Rabius grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a putback. Both teams traded layups on the next two possessions. However, Hudgins’ third three of the game extended East Bernard’s lead 34-32. With eight points from Malone in the quarter, the game remained tight.
Boling opened the fourth with a couple of bad passes and East Bernard took advantage with Talas quickly giving them an eight-point lead after three straight layups. Malone continued to keep Boling in the game pulling them within six points twice in the quarter. The Lady Bulldogs weren’t able to get any consistent offense going as the Brahmarettes’ defense pressured and forced tough shots.
“We have a lot more seniors than last year,” Talas said. “With the seniors, we’ve played together so we’re a lot more comfortable playing with each other, so that makes it easier this year.”
East Bernard’s lone district loss is to Hitchcock and has a good shot at holding on for one of the top two playoff seeds.
Boling’s only district losses have come to Hitchcock and East Bernard. Unless the Lady Bulldogs can upset Hitchcock, the third seed looks to be theirs if they keep picking up wins.
East Bernard outshot Boling at the free-throw making 15-of-23 attempts, compared to 7-of-14 for the home team.