Lady Cardinals take down Leonard

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Pottsboro's Hadley Williams scored a game-high 16 points in a win over Leonard during District 11-3A play.

POTTSBORO — Leonard came out in a zone defense, daring the Lady Cardinals to fire away from the outside.

Pottsboro obliged from all around the three-point line and kept connecting as seven of the first 10 baskets by the home team were triples.

The Lady Cardinals combined 12 three-pointers with another stingy defensive effort for a 52-34 victory over Leonard in a District 11-3A make-up contest.

"We've been taking them all year. We hadn't been making them like that," Pottsboro head coach Aaron Bates said. "Everybody was hitting them. It makes it easier when you have a night like this."

Hadley Williams had 16 points, eight assists, five steals and five rebounds, Emma Powlinson scored 12 points, Hannah Fellinger totaled 10 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Ali Malone added eight points for Pottsboro (12-2, 3-1), which hosts Paris North Lamar in non-district action on Saturday afternoon.

Nakita Harris scored eight points, Raven Fox added seven points and Brooke Perry chipped in six points for Leonard (7-4, 1-2), which hosts Whitewright on Wednesday in its other district makeup game.

All of Powlinson's points came on her four threes while Williams, Fellinger, Malone and Brayli Simpson all made two apiece.

The Lady Cardinals were coming off their district loss — 38-36 at the buzzer against first-place Gunter — and the first time they had lost while allowing fewer than 40 points. Undefeated Muenster remains the only team to surpass that number against Pottsboro.

"It's a good district and you're going to be playing good teams. If you make shots you're probably going to come out with a win," Bates said.

Leonard was going to struggle to get there after single-digit efforts in the first and third quarters and just 10 points in the second. The Tigerettes made only 14 shots in the game.

But Leonard tried to make a move and get back into the game after it trailed by 23 heading to the fourth quarter.

A 10-0 run over the next three minutes, sparked by a three-point play from Perry and a three-pointer by Fox had the deficit down to 13 points with plenty of time remaining.

"Leonard always gets after it. They always play hard against us," Bates said. "I told the girls at half-time when it was 29-13 this game wasn't over."

But it was as close as the Tigerettes would get. Fellinger ended the nearly five-minute drought by Pottsboro on a jumper from the left side and Powlinson drilled her fourth and final three a minute later.

The Lady Cardinals also held Leonard to just one basket over the final five minutes to put the game away.

A fast start contributed to an effort where Pottsboro was up by double figures for the final two-and-a-half quarters. The Lady Cardinals opened the game on a 13-0 burst that was bookended by Williams jumpers. In between Malone made two threes and Powlinson knocked one down.

Williams was directing traffic at the high post, sending passes to either corner or the wing for what seemed like an open look every time.

"That's what's good about Hadley, put a senior in the middle of that zone and make good decisions and she made a bunch of good ones," Bates said. "But they also have to make the shots and they were."

Leonard got on the board with 3:20 left in the first quarter on a bucket from Alexa Rhone. Perry added a free throw and the Tigerettes were down 13-3 after the frame.

Fox made a pair of free throws with 5:47 to go in the first half that trimmed the deficit to nine points.

Pottsboro followed with an 11-2 run which pumped the lead back up to 18. Simpson sandwiched threes around Fellinger connecting from long distance and the Lady Cardinals took a 29-13 advantage into half-time.

Of those 29 points, 21 came on three-pointers out of the hands of four different shooters.

The second half saw much of the same — Pottsboro hit five shots in the third quarter and four of them were threes. Fellinger and Powlinson made it a 37-15 lead in the middle of the stanza and Williams punctuated the stretch with the last one for a 45-22 margin after three quarters.

District 11-3A

Pottsboro                   52

Leonard                     34