Rose Bud guard Kyndl Harlan drilled five three-pointers on her way to scoring a team-high 19 points as the Lady Ramblers used outstanding backcourt play to beat Quitman 52-44 on Friday night at Rambler Arena.
With Rose Bud missing starting guards Lexi Jackson and Jessi Mann and Quitman playing without starting point guard Katelyn Houston and starting guard Bethnee Edwards, both teams had to find innovative ways to score with several players stepping into unfamiliar roles.
The Lady Ramblers (6-2) found that needed help from guards Bailee Burchfield and Randi Hartwick, who combined for 20 points to help offset Quitman forward Rosenna Ezell, who poured in a game-high 20 points.
“I felt like hitting three's early was a big key,” said Rose Bud Coach Mandy Goodwin. “That helped us spread their defense and get the ball inside in the second half.
“Defensively, I was not pleased all night. No. 30 [Ezell] pretty much took us to the hole all she wanted. We were not stepping up into gaps and taking care of that. Free throws also let us down but overall it was a gutsy performance by my girls so I am very proud of them,” Goodwin concluded.
Hartwick and post player Tess Capps started the game in place of Jackson and Mann. “Tess and Randi have taken those starting spots and have done a great job,” said Goodwin. “We have kept our continuity going, our offense is staying strong and we are hitting some big shots.”
Quitman Coach LouAnn Sanders said her team played hard the entire game despite only having one bench player available. “We only had six players and they never gave up,” said Sanders. “They did a pretty good job of not getting in foul trouble so I saw a lot of positives in this game.
“Obviously we need to do a little better defensively. At the end there we were out of the gaps a little bit but while battling injuries I thought the girls played hard, showed a lot of heart and they never gave up. Rose Bud is always tough competition for us. I am very proud of the way the girls kept fighting and playing hard,” added Sanders.
Rose Bud took the game's first lead when Hartwick snared an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper from right baseline but Quitman versatile guard Alex Bohannan answered from right block. Hartwick scored again, this time in transition but Quitman post player Maddie Holland got a stick back and Ezell sliced down left side of lane for a layup, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 6-4 lead.
Harlan quickly countered with a three-pointer from right wing as Rose Bud briefly jumped back on top before Bohannan hit a bank shot in the lane.
With Quitman leading by one late in the first quarter, Hartwick drained a three-pointer from left elbow, giving the Lady Ramblers a 10-8 lead entering the second stanza.
Page 2 of 2 - Quitman tied the game early in the second when post player Shayna Burklow scored from left block but Burchfield responded with a three-pointer from left elbow off an assist from Harlan.
Ezell fired back with a three-pointer from left corner, tying the score at 13-all before Harlan quickly answered with a three-pointer from top of the key, igniting a 7-0 spurt by the Lady Ramblers.
Following a bucket from right block by Capps, Burchfield stripped a steal and drove to the basket for a layup as Rose Bud's lead grew to 20-13.
Quitman stopped Rose Bud's run with a basket from right block from Burklow, but Burchfield hit a 16-foot jumper from left baseline off an assist from Capps.
Quitman forward Rave Ide scored off an assist from Bohannan as the Lady Bulldogs sliced their deficit to five but Harlan ripped a deep three-pointer from right elbow before Ezell canned a pair of free throws, leaving Rose Bud with a 27-21 lead at halftime.
Burklow opened the third quarter with a midrange jumper from left baseline but Rose Bud post player Natalie Sherwood answered with a turnaround jumper in a crowded lane.
Quitman scored three straight, including a fast-break layup by Ezell off a steal from Burklow and assist from Bohannan, pulling within three before Harlan found Burchfield cutting to the hoop for a layup.
After Ide and Sherwood exchanged buckets, Burklow scored in traffic as the Lady Bulldogs once again pulled within three but Harlan retaliated, this time with a deep three-pointer from right wing.
Burklow sank a 15-foot jumper from right baseline but Harlan answered once again, drilling a three-pointer from left elbow.
Following a rebound bucket by Ezell, Sherwood made a free throw in the closing seconds of the third quarter, giving Rose Bud a 40-34 lead entering the final eight minutes of play.
Ezell opened the fourth with a pair of free throws but Rose Bud responded with four consecutive as Hartwick hit a jumper from right elbow off an assist from Capps, then Sherwood scored from right block off an assist from Harlan.
Ezell fired back with four straight to keep Quitman within striking distance. With Rose Bud leading 45-40 and the time winding under three minutes, Capps hit a short bank shot in transition to give the Lady Ramblers some breathing room.
Rose Bud limited Quitman to only four points in the final two minutes, a bucket from Ezell and two free throws from Burklow, while hitting 5-of-8 free throws to seal the victory.
Ezell poured in a game-high 20 points for Quitman (3-5), Burklow added 14 and Ide finished with six.
Following Harlan's team-high 19 points for Rose Bud, Burchfield followed with 11, while Hartwick and Sherwood each scored nine.