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ET Basketball: Longview Lady Lobos trounce Hallsville Ladycats

By Hayden Henry
Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:56 p.m.

Longview's Destiny McAfee drives to the basket during Tuesday's December 5, 2017 game against Hallsville. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

In less than a week, the Longview Lady Lobos will begin district action, and to this point in the season, it's been about continuing to build in every area of the game — day-in and day-out.

On Tuesday, and over the past week for the Lady Lobos, it's been a defensive-heavy push.

That was on display in a big way at Lobo Coliseum as Longview ran its season record to 10-1 with a 60-19 thumping of Hallsville.

"I've seen a lot of growth from our team so far," first-year Longview head coach Robert Cochran said. "With the district we're about to face, we've got to find ways to get better every day, every game and I think we're doing that.

"We haven't shot the ball too well over the past week but we've found a way to get five wins and that's a credit to the way they're playing defense."

Longview's defense came away with 26 steals Tuesday night, holding the Ladycats to five first-half points.

"We were able to rotate in our press, not give up much in transition and pressure the ball," Cochran said. "We held Frisco to nine points in the first half this past weekend and tonight we made them work for every pass and didn't give up too much in the paint. We've made progress there over the past two weeks."

McKenzie Brown led the way with 15 points, six steals, five rebounds and two assists on Tuesday. Heavunli Reed followed with 12 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Destiny McAfee also hit double digits with 12 points to go with five rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Off the bench, freshman Madison Pippins dropped nine points, had three steals and two assists. Kindra Taylor chipped in seven rebounds to go with five points and two steals.

"We're still playing extremely fast and that will be key for us," Cochran said. "I can't ask our kids to work any harder than they have and they've embraced everything we've asked them to do."

For Hallsville, whose roster has four seniors, freshman Abby Dunagan, Hanna Poteet and Maddison Ford had four points.

Ford had 12 rebounds, Dunagan six and Katoria Jackson eight. Ford added four steals and Jackson and Dunagan had two assists.

The Ladycats dominated the boards early, finishing with 13 rebounds in the first quarter. Longview countered that with eight steals through the first eight minutes.

The Lady Lobos finished with a slim 40-39 advantage on rebounds.

Longview opened up an early 3-2 lead with an 8-0 run with a driving bucket from Pippins and back-to-back buckets from Reese, the second off a steal.

Pippins closed out the first quarter with a three off a dish from Reese to put Longview ahead, 16-3.

That rolled into a dominant second quarter for the Lady Lobos with Reese connecting from beyond the arc and taking another steal coast-to-coast.

McAfee's first points of the night came from deep off a dish from Kyrra Boone. She followed with a three-point play off a steal as Longview closed on a 15-0 run for a 38-5 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Longview shifted its focus to a half-court offense.

Hallsville got threes in the third quarter from Dunagan and Poteet, both off assists from down low from Jackson.

Both teams will both head to Brownsboro for the Great East Texas Shootout, which features 31 teams in the girls bracket.

Longview opens the bracket tournament with Grace at 12:15 p.m. Thursday while Hallsville meets Van at 2 p.m.

After tournament play concludes Saturday, Longview will open District 11-6A play on Tuesday on the road at Mesquite Horn.

"We'll see some good competition this weekend so it'll be a good way to close non-district," Cochran said. "We're missing a few kids so continuing to develop depth will be key this weekend.

"We've got to continue to build defensively and work on our execution and just keep moving forward."

(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)

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