By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The Southwestern Heights Lady Mustangs turned the Ulysses Lady Tigers turnovers into points, and built a big first-half lead. Ulysses made a mad dash back into the game, but the Lady Mustangs held on to win, 39-32, and advance to the finals of the Blue and Red Classic in Hugoton.
“I know we had a little letdown coming out of last night’s game,” said Lady Mustangs coach Barry Mellen. “We came out and played hard, intensity wise, and got every loose ball in the first half. We were playing the way we should be playing. Some times with mental toughness you have to say ‘I have to bear down even more the next night’. It doesn’t just happen; you have to make it happen. Those are the things you learn from. “
Rebi Jacobs beat the buzzer to end the first quarter. That shot gave the Lady Mustangs an 8-3 lead, and was the start of an 11-0 run that had Heights leading 17-3 when Jacobs hit her second of three threes with 4:40 left before half. Heights maintained, and led 24-9 at the half.
Heights stretched their advantage to 19, leading 32-13 with 2:53 left in the third. Ulysses went on a 9-0 run, and with 7:06 left in the game, cut the lead to just ten at 32-22. The Lady Mustangs were able to slow the surge, and still led 35-23 with 3:38 left.
“We let down, and they picked it up,” said Mellen. “The team that plays the most aggressive ends up with more loose balls and turnovers. It’s so early we’re still trying to find who our rebounders and ball-handlers are going to be.”
The Lady Tigers mounted another comeback with a 9-4 run, but it fell short.
Sheree Ryan led the Lady Mustangs in scoring with 15, and Rebi Jacobs added 14. Heights faced tournament host Hugoton Saturday for the championship.