For the majority of Friday’s game between the Hugo Lady Buffaloes and the Paris Ladycats, the two teams stayed neck and neck with one another. In the final moments, of the game, however, Hugo would use stifling defense to lead to quick and easy offense, and the team from Oklahoma pulled away late, downing Paris 50-37.
Hugo came out of the gate strong, nailing down a handful of long-range jumpshots to take a quick 7-0 lead. Paris answered back, though, with Nya Williams scoring a couple quick baskets to cut the deficit back to two.
Paris and Hugo traded baskets for the remainder of the first quarter, but the Lady Buffaloes were able to stretch the lead back up to seven early in the second, on the back of incredibly strong play from Jordan Holman, who would go on to finish with 15 points.
“She does so many things well for us,” Hugo coach Chris Scott said. “She’s a big time player and she showed it tonight.”
Once again, though, Paris had an answer, and promptly cut the deficit back to two.
“I think it says a lot about our team’s character, the way that they never got down on themselves or gave up,” interim head coach Hiyadeja Moore said after the game.
Just a few minutes later, Paris would tie the game for the first time on a difficult pull-up jumper by Keshanti Gordon with a hand in her face, and then take its first lead of the game off of a post move by Williams off an entry pass from Gordon. Entering the locker room at halftime, Paris held a slim one-point lead.
Both teams shot well in the early goings of the second half, and the Lady Buffaloes and Ladycats traded the lead back and forth several times in the opening minutes.
Midway through the quarter, the Ladycats tightened up their defense, and Hugo went several minutes without finding the bottom of the net. The defensive tenacity was led by Jazz Dangerfield, who contested several Hugo shots and forced turnovers as well. In that stretch, the Ladycats were able to stretch their lead to as many as five points, eventually heading into the final quarter with a one-point lead.
The fourth quarter, however, was a different story. Paris came out cold, missing several shots — an ailment that did not afflict Hugo.
Paris’ woes were exacerbated by the fact that Hugo began finding its points in quick succession by playing the passing lanes to intercept passes, and then getting out in transition and scoring quick and easy baskets.
“We do extremely well in transition; it’s one of our biggest strengths this year,” Scott said. “Sometimes I think we rely too much on it, and it can hurt us when we’re forced to play in the half court. But when we can get out in transition, we can be really tough to beat.”
Over the span of about 30 seconds, Hugo was able to score six points in nearly identical fashion. The first two buckets came on the tail end of a long, full-court pass after a steal, and then a shovel pass under the basket to Kaydrian Scott. The third fast break bucket was scored by point guard India Jordan, who took the ball coast-to-coast by herself. Jordan would go on to lead all scorers with 19 points.
Just like that, Hugo’s lead had ballooned from five points to 11, and a minute hadn’t even elapsed off the clock.
“I was pleased with our defense tonight,” Chris Scott said. “We definitely played the passing lanes well.”
Paris was limited to just two points in the quarter, scored on a mid-range jump shot from near the free throw line by Asia Johnson.
“We were just gassed there at the end,” Moore said. “But I give our girls a lot of credit. They never stopped fighting, and so I can rest easy after a loss like this. … They have nothing to hang their heads about.”
In addition to Jordan’s 19 and Holman’s 15, Kaydrian Scott netted 12 points to join her co-stars in double figures and Ashia Jordan scored four.
For Paris, Williams scored 14 points to lead her team, Quiniya Savage finished with eight, Gordon had seven, Dangerfield had six and Johnson had two.
Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at email@example.com.
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