Fast start lifts Lady Cobras, 45-35

By Zach Parker The Sentinel-Record
This article was published January 14, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

FOUNTAIN LAKE -- A sizzling start gave the Fountain Lake Lady Cobras enough of a cushion to withstand Haskell Harmony Grove's second-half rally Friday night.

The Lady Cobras (8-9, 4-0) limited a Harmony Grove team that averages 45 points a game to just six points in the first half, later holding on for a 45-35 win at Irvin J. Bass Gymnasium-Sammy Lambert Court.

"We played really well defensively in the first half," Fountain Lake coach Chris Mungle said. "We really limited their post play and we limited their 3-point shooting. It was probably the best half of defense we've played all year."

Trailing 22-6, the Lady Cardinals came to life in the third quarter to make things interesting. After a basket by Fountain Lake's Lyndsey Blees stretched the lead to 31-8, Harmony Grove's Kylie Moore connected on two 3-pointers and scored eight points to spark a 13-0 run that pulled the Lady Cardinals within 31-21.

"Like I told them at halftime, we knew they were a good basketball team and we knew they were going to make a run at us," said Mungle. "Give them credit, they came out there and knocked down some shots. We turned the ball over a couple times and gave them some easy baskets, and they made that run."

Both teams traded shots in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Cobras maintained a double-digit lead until Raven Newton's layup had Harmony Grove within 38-29 midway through the fourth quarter.

With the Lady Cardinals threatening to take their first lead of the game, Fountain Lake's Jillian Norman and Blees combined to hit seven of eight shots from the free throw line in the final minutes to preserve the win.

"Right there during that stretch, we missed three in a row (at the free throw line), then came down and made seven of our last eight," Mungle said. "Shooting and all of that is so much mental. You've got to step up on the free throw line and shoot to make it, not shoot to keep from missing. You can't be worried about the one you missed before that."

After Harmony Grove's Grace Bryant knotted the score at 2-2 in the first quarter, the Lady Cobras closed the frame on a 7-0 run for an early 9-2 lead, Norman leading the way with five points.

Fountain Lake's momentum carried over into the second quarter as Blees buried a 3-pointer, while senior guard Hannah Ross converted on four shots from the foul line to stretch the lead to 16-2.

"We kept it to where we could play loose a little bit," said Mungle. "I expect that out of this group. There's four seniors on the floor most of the time, so they've been there and done that. You expect those things out of senior groups."

After four points by the Lady Cardinals, Norman connected on a shot from behind the arc, while Ross and sophomore Emoree Martin combined for three points at the free throw line to give Fountain Lake a commanding 22-6 halftime lead.

Blees led all scorers with 10 points, while Norman, Ross and senior Molly Breshears each scored nine points to give the Lady Cobras a balanced offensive effort. Senior Leighton Withers paced Harmony Grove with nine points and Moore added eight points.

The Lady Cobras play their first of three straight games on the road Tuesday night at Arkadelphia (6-12, 4-4).

"We're a defensive-minded team, and in the end, our defense and rebounding is what's going to carry us through," Mungle said. "We can't rely on our offense all the time. When you go on the road, you've really got to play defense and you've really got to rebound. That's what this group has bought into and they believe in it."

  • Fountain Lake's junior girls held Harmony Grove scoreless in the first quarter Thursday night, securing a 30-19 win at Daniel Henley Fieldhouse.

Presley Hamric paced the junior Lady Cobras (8-5) with 18 points and Karli Bryant added eight points. Fountain Lake led 12-2 at the half and stretched it to 22-8 entering the final frame.

The junior Lady Cardinals outscored Fountain Lake 11-8 in the fourth quarter to set the final margin. Fountain Lake's seventh-grade girls rolled to a 25-4 earlier in the day.

Sports on 01/14/2018

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