By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The Southwestern Heights Lady Mustangs took back ownership of the Blue and Red Classic. Heights was knocked from their perch last year by Perryton after winning it five consecutive times. But after a close first half against tournament host Hugoton, the Lady Mustangs took control in the third quarter, and held on for a 45-37 championship win.
"The girls fought through a lot of different things this week," Barry Mellen. "We had a lot of different players step up at different times. We competed and when we got tired we showed some mental toughness."
Hugoton jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, and still led at the end of the first quarter 11-9. The Lady Eagles increased their lead to 15-9. But Heights answered with a run of their own, scoring the next 13 points. Hugoton's BayLee Hoskinson hit a three with ten second left in the half to pull the Lady Eagles back within four at the break.
"Every game I've seen them in they start strong, and I was hoping we could stay with them at the beginning," said Mellen. "In the second quarter our passing got better and we got the ball where we should have all along, inside. I challenged them in the third quarter to come out and play some really tough defense. Because when we do, our offense just clicks. That's the key for us."
The Lady Mustangs answered their coaches call, pushed the lead to double digits late in the third, and led 35-23 heading into the final period. Hugoton was able to cut the lead to single digits, but never below eight.
For the seventh year in a row, a Heights girl was named MVP of the tournament. Rebi Jacobs finished the night with 14 points including hitting three shots from beyond the arc. Sheree Ryan was also named all-tournament, and also finished the championship game with 14 points. Heights also won the sportsmanship award.
Heights is now 4-0, and will host Satanta Tuesday.