WHITEWRIGHT — The time for tinkering is almost done and in the past few matches the Whitesboro Lady Bearcats have figured some things out.
With the kinks removed from its rotation and an opportunity to gain some momentum heading into District 10-3A action next week, Whitesboro defeated Whitewright, 24-26, 25-21, 26-24, 25-10, in non-district action.
"The girls have stayed positive — win or lose," Lady Bearcats head coach Carissa Gabbert said. "I found my rotation. Now we're just running with it. This is what it's going to be. We're set. We're ready to go. Now we have to make it work."
Libby Langford had 17 kills and six digs, Karley Wolf chipped in six kills and four aces, Aubri Falco totaled five kills, 15 assists and four digs, Elly Harper finished with 17 assists, seven digs and three kills and Abby Robinson collected 12 digs for Whitesboro (2-5), which hosts Alvord on Friday before starting district play on Tuesday.
"It helps going in with wins," Gabbert said. "Every little bit helps and we start with Ponder right off the bat."
Callie McGee, Emily Barnhurst and Kayanna Cox led the way for Whitewright (5-5), which closes out non-district play by hosting North Hopkins on Friday afternoon before District 11-3A action begins on Tuesday at Bonham.
It looked like another tense stretch would take place in Game 4 and leave the potential of a deciding fifth game until the late stages but with the score tied at six, Whitesboro ripped off a 10-0 run that was almost entirely fueled by Whitewright attack errors.
Wolf had consecutive aces to give the Lady Bearcats a 12-point margin at 19-7 and Whitesboro halted any potential comeback with a 5-0 burst after Whitewright was about to get within single digits.
The Lady Bearcats looked to be on their way to a 2-1 advantage but Whitewright nearly pulled out Game 3 and even had game point but couldn’t get it. Langford put down a kill and then a pair of errors by the Lady Tigers gave the Lady Bearcats the frame.
Before that Whitewright had rallied to be in such good position. The Lady Tigers were down by four a couple of times, the last at 17-13, and then trailed 19-16 before a run capped by Laira Cate’s ace tied the score.
Whitesboro answered with three consecutive points to force a timeout at 22-19 and again Whitewright responded to tie the score at 22 and eventually go up by a point twice.
"I was proud of them. They came back and fought," Gabbert said. "It's a good sign."
Whitesboro tied the match by overcoming an early deficit in Game 2. The Lady Tigers carried over the momentum from claiming the opening frame with four straight points on the way to a 6-1 advantage behind Katy Long and Laura Simpson.
But Langford led a 5-0 burst to tie the stanza at six and it remained close the rest of the way. The teams traded the lead a couple of times and Whitewright was up 19-18 before a kill by Harper. The Lady Bearcats broke the tie and were able to halve the match on kills from Langford and Olivia Scoggins.
Whitewright captured Game 1 by rallying from a couple of five-point deficits. Whitesboro was able to build up a 12-7 advantage behind Langford and Harper and the Lady Bearcats’ last lead of that size was 13-8.
The Lady Tigers scored the next four points, including kills by McGee and Long, to close the gap.
Later it was a 5-0 run from Whitewright which turned a three-point deficit into an 18-16 lead — the home team’s first since it was 4-3 — but even after getting up 21-18 on a McGee kill, the Lady Tigers couldn;t keep Whitesboro from pullingeven with the next three points.
The score was tied twice more, at 23 and 24- all, before Whitesboro made a pair of hitting errors to end the frame and the Lady Tigers held the early advantage.