After coming up short of state in two deep playoff runs the past two years, Hitchcock Lady Bulldogs head coach Andrew Hubbell feels like this year, his senior-laden group has a chip on their shoulders.
That chip definitely showed in Tuesday’s home opener, as Hitchcock ransacked a quality Coldspring-Oakhurst Lady Trojans squad in an 81-40 blowout win.
“We’re more mature this year, and we do have a chip on our shoulders,” Hubbell said. “Whenever we lose two years in a row the way we lost — we lost on a buzzer-beater their sophomore year and last year we lost by two key free throws with 4 seconds left — I mean, that’s something that really hits.”
The win improves the Lady Bulldogs to 6-3 on the season, with those three losses coming against top 10 state-ranked Class 4A teams in No. 3 Houston Wheatley and No. 6 Navasota and No. 1-ranked Class 3A team Teague.
Led by seven multiple-time lettermen seniors, Hubbell has high hopes for his group this season, as they are displaying a more aggressive, attack-the-basket approach.
“We have that attitude where we know the past two years we’ve let things slip, and we let games that we should’ve been able to control, we lost them because of this, that or the other,” Hubbell said. “They’ve done a very good job of cleaning that up. Even tonight, we’d miss layups, but we’d come back and get another bucket or do something else. We stayed in attack mode.”
The rugged non-district schedule continues for Class 3A Hitchcock this Thursday through Saturday, as they enter the Peggy Whitley Classic tournament in a field with Class 6A and 5A giants. First up will be Ball High at 9 a.m. Thursday at Clear Creek High School’s Gym 3.
“One thing I’ll say about this group, just like they were last year, they don’t care about an A, they don’t care about a division, they don’t care if you’re a 6A, a 4A, a 1A — they’re going to bring it,” Hubbell said. “They’re going to play defense, and it’s a good thing defense travels, because offense doesn’t always.”
On Tuesday, Hitchcock swarmed Coldspring, starting the game with an 18-0 run and never looking back.
The Lady Bulldogs had the hot hand from long range early, with a pair of 3-pointers from Irish Winn (game-highs 24 points and eight rebounds) sandwiching another trey from Taylor Kendrick (five points, four rebounds) to get Hitchcock out to a 9-0 lead 2:04 into the game.
Taivionna Daniels (19 points off the bench) and Majesty Otems (13 points) scored layups on back-to-back Coldspring turnovers, and Winn scorched the net with her third triple of the opening period for a 16-0 lead midway through the period.
After a nice move down the baseline for a layup by Otems, Coldspring finally stopped the run with a bucket by Ro McKinney. But, the Lady Bulldogs responded with a 14-0 run led by six points apiece from Otems and Daniels.
By the end of the first quarter, Hitchcock held a commanding 32-4 lead — an advantage fueled by forcing 15 Coldspring turnovers.
“We try to throw different things at them and see what kind of sticks, and it was just one of those nights where it didn’t matter — everything stuck,” Hubbell said. “Our first quarter was probably one of the best quarters we’ve played, in my personal opinion. So, hopefully we can build on that.”
Things settled down after that, as Hitchcock pushed its lead to 47-14 at halftime. A steal and coast-to-coast layup from Jimile Johnson (10 points) gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 71-29 late in the third quarter.
Coldspring was led by Jakayla Glaze (12 points, six rebounds) and Jade Eldridge (11 points, seven rebounds).