The Chisum Lady Mustangs hosted the Rivercrest Lady Rebels on the hardwood Tuesday night in an intriguing non-district matchup between two solid girls basketball teams of the Red River Valley.
The game was close throughout most of the third quarter with Chisum holding a slim lead, but the Lady Mustangs used defense and offensive contributions across the board to pull away for a 59-40 win at home.
The Lady Mustangs started off slow, and Rivercrest hung right with them. Chisum entered the second quarter with a 15-11 lead, and junior Chloe Prestridge helped keep Chisum ahead in that quarter with a pair of 3-pointers. She canned a long ball from the corner with 7:02 left to extend the lead to 18-11 and later with 6 seconds left before intermission to make it 25-17 at the half.
“We had a very slow start offensively, but Chloe (Prestridge) hit some big shots over there in the corner to keep us afloat,” Lady Mustangs head basketball coach Will Smith said. “Sarah (Hunt) started off slow, then she poured it on in the second half. She found her groove, and hopefully it’ll stay like that for a while. It was a total team effort. Defensively we were flying around, this game was a lot better than last week (loss to Honey Grove) and it showed up on the scoreboard.”
Rivercrest again made it a close game as senior Ashlin Johnson drilled a 3-pointer from the wing with 5:35 left to cut the deficit to 27-23, but a short jumper from senior Zoe Tucker with 5:18 remaining in the third, followed by layup from Prestridge off a nice assist from senior guard Sarah Hunt with 4:52 left extended the lead to 31-24. Chisum’s lead swelled to 33-24 after a steal-and-score from Hunt with 3:44 left, but senior guard Madi Lichtenwalter nailed a 3-pointer with 3:20 left to trim Chisum’s lead to 33-27.
From there, the Lady Mustangs’ supporting cast made its presence known.
“It was awesome because normally I feel like we’ve relied on me too much, and I haven’t wanted it to be that way — it’s just the way it’s been,” Hunt said of the contributions. “Everyone stepped up. Chloe Prestridge had three 3-pointers tonight, Zoe (Tucker) stepped up and everyone did their job all the way around.”
A floater in the lane from Hunt with 3:03 left and a short jumper from Prestridge with 1:17 left extended the lead to 37-27, then a steal-and-score from Hunt with 30 seconds left made it 39-27. After that, she found sophomore guard Landrey Howard for a lay in after recording another steal with 14 seconds left to stretch the lead to 41-27. Chisum regained control of the game in a big way from its defense.
“We got back into our 22 defense, we started trapping in the corners and got the momentum back once we got a bunch of steals,” Tucker said. “From there, it was just fast break after fast break, and (Harmony) Marsh is doing a really good job. She’s getting a lot of blocks, and since she’s really big, she’s learning to push people out of the way. Chloe (Prestridge) is doing really well and shifted the momentum with her 3-pointers.”
The Lady Rebels did not go quietly in the fourth quarter. Even after trailing 53-30, the Lady Rebels used a quick 6-0 run off an impressive full-court press to trim the deficit to 53-36 and forced Chisum to burn a timeout.
“We always talking about wanting to start and finish our games with intensity,” Lady Rebels head basketball coach Justin Milton said. “I was really proud of our effort against Saltillo on Saturday night, but I just feel like we didn’t trust as much in the team to go for for quarters in that game. But in this game, we did that. I couldn’t be any more proud of the way we worked as a team, believed in and trusted each other. We had to adapt towards the end going to a full-court man defense we haven’t practiced that much. I love to have the type of young ladies that listen and believe in what we’re doing.”
However, Hunt buried a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining in regulation to push the lead back to 20 points at 56-36, and the Lady Mustangs finished strong with the 19-point win.
Hunt led Chisum with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals, while Tucker and Prestridge each finished with 13 points. Tucker pulled down 8 rebounds, while Prestridge grabbed 6 rebounds. Howard added 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, while Lexie Brown totaled 3 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Bailee Dawes added 3 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal, while Harmony Marsh ended the night with 2 points, 1 rebound and 2 blocks.
Tootie Rosser led Rivercrest with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals, while Farrah Savage added 7 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Lichtenwalter had 5 points and 1 steal, while Katelyn Holt finished with 5 points and 7 rebounds. Ashlin Johnson recorded 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist, while Lexi Rushing poured in 2 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists. Jennifer Kelley and Caylin Williams each posted 2 points and 1 rebound.
The Lady Rebels have plenty to build off of from the early regular season test, and remain optimistic going forward.
“With Marta (Ward) graduating last year, we had to find someone to play point guard,” Milton said. “I think Tootie Rosser is going to fill that void. She did an excellent job tonight. She’s always going and has plenty of energy, which allows Farrah (Savage) to be the shooting guard she’s been in the past. We’ve got several girls going to be working post for us. Katelyn Holt is coming back from injury, and we are excited to have her. Lexi Rushing is a great kid that we had come out for basketball this year, and Ashlin Johnson has been learning a new position moving from post to guard. Everyone learning new positions and believing in the process will be key.”
Chisum is encouraged by everyone playing a part and looks for the trend to continue.
“We did a good job of finding the open person,” Smith said. “We weren’t looking for Sarah (Hunt) to bail us out, we were finding the open person and they were knocking down shots tonight. I think that’s something we have to do more of in order for us to have a good run this year.”
The Lady Mustangs will play again in the Saltillo Tournament from Thursday through Saturday with game times and opponents to be announced, while the Lady Rebels look to bounce back at 6 p.m. Friday at home against Commerce.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 F
Rivercrest: 15 6 10 13 40
Chisum: 11 10 16 18 59
Rivercrest scorers: T. Rosser, 10; F. Savage, 7; K. Holt, 5; A. Johnson, 5; M. Lichtenwalter, 5; J. Kelley, 2; L. Rushing, 2; C. Williams, 2
Chisum scorers: S. Hunt, 21; C. Prestridge, 13; Z. Tucker, 13; L. Howard, 4; L. Brown, 3; B. Dawes, 3; H. Marsh, 2
Rivercrest FGM: T. Rosser, 5; A. Johnson, 3; F. Savage, 3; K. Holt, 2; A. Johnson, 2; M. Lichtenwalter, 1; L. Rushing, 1; C. Williams, 1
Chisum FGM: S. Hunt, 9; Z. Tucker, 6; C. Prestridge, 5; L. Howard, 2; L. Brown, 1; B. Dawes, 1; H. Marsh, 1
Rivercrest 3PFGM: A. Johnson, 1; M. Lichtenwalter, 1; F. Savage, 1
Chisum 3PFGM: C. Prestridge, 3; S. Hunt, 2; Z. Tucker, 1
Rivercrest FT: 7-for-11; J. Kelley, 2-2; A. Johnson, 2-3; M. Lichtenwalter, 2-3; K. Holt. 1-1; T. Rosser, 0-1
Chisum FT: 3-for-5; B. Dawes, 1-1; L. Brown, 1-2; S. Hunt, 1-2