By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
After scoring just 15 points in the first half, the Southwestern Heights Lady Mustangs had an offensive explosion in the second half, scoring 47 points to beat Stanton County, 62-45.
"The girls stepped up in the second half," Lady Mustangs coach Barry Mellen said. "In our last game, against Forgan, we came out for the third quarter sluggish, and I told them we've got to come out and play. It's homecoming, we've got the home crowd, and the gym is full. We've got to step up. Boy they sure did. The girls came out intense."
The third quarter was the key. Heights outscored the Lady Trojans 24-5, going from trailing by three at half to up by 16 heading into the fourth.
Nayelly LaPoint was big for the Lady Mustangs in the third, scoring 13 of her game-high 21 points. LaPoint finished the game 9 of 18 from the field, 3 of 4 at the line, and grabbed five boards and three steals.
The Lady Mustangs offensive output continued in the fourth, with 23 points. Stanton County kept pace with 22, but could not make up any of Heights' lead.
Ivon Longoria took over scoring duties for the Lady Mustangs in the fourth, scoring 9 of her 19 in the quarter. Amparon finished 9 of 14 in the paint with four assists and 6 steals.
Jackie Loya led Heights in rebounding with 8, and also had four steals.
Early in the game, it was Stanton County who was in control. The Lady Trojans slowed the pace, and led 7-6 after one quarter of play.
"Our first-half defense was ok at times, but not great," Mellen said. "We've got to be great on defense because we have to score off our defense. We've got to get some easy baskets off of steals, and that's what we did in the third quarter."
Raquel Longoria (8 points, 4 steals) sank one of her two threes early in the second quarter to give the Lady Mustangs their first lead of the game. Stanton County's Kristina Gerard scored two straight buckets to put the Lady Trojans back on top (18-15 at half)
But Gerard's night ended early with an ankle injury just before half that sidelined her the rest of the game.
"She (Gerard) did a great job of making it tough for us," Mellen said. "The threes weren't falling and we had to go inside and she was controlling the paint. We didn't get any second shots."
Two statistics stood out for the Lady Mustangs. They were 20 of 36 in the paint compared to 12 of 16 for Stanton County. Heights also grabbed 17 steals.
Heights (9-6) will host Beaver, Okla. (8-13) Tuesday.