Aided by their trademark high-pressure defense, as well as a great effort from Majesty Otems, the Hitchcock Lady Bulldogs won their Region III-3A bi-district playoff game against Anahuac, 53-33, on Monday night at North Shore High School.
“Our defense is going to carry us when we have an offensive night like tonight,” Hitchcock head coach Andrew Hubbell said. “Luckily, defense travels.”
The Lady Bulldogs led wire-to-wire, and their relentless defense forced 33 Anahuac turnovers — including 25 in a dominant first half. Otems scored nearly half of Hitchcock’s total points, finishing with a double-double at 26 points and 11 rebounds.
But, the rims in North Shore’s gym were unkind to the usually sharpshooting Lady ‘Dawgs, especially from beyond the arc where Hitchcock finished 0-for-13.
“This is the first game I can remember where a three didn’t go,” Hubbell said. “I’m not saying that’s an integral part of what we do, but it would be nice to get one or two of those jokers to fall every once in a while.
Hitchcock held Anahuac scoreless for the first 7:45 of the game, but were only able to hold a 12-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. Hitchcock began the game with 10 unanswered points, highlighted by a pair of nice assists from point guard Irish Winn to Otems for back-to-back layups.
After Anahuac made the first basket of the second quarter, the Lady Bulldogs went on another 10-0 run to take a commanding 24-4 lead with 1:32 left in the first half. Anahuac managed to cut Hitchcock’s lead to 24-10 before a Jimile Johnson basket gave the Lady ‘Dawgs a 26-10 halftime lead.
Hitchcock won a close third quarter, 16-14. Leading, 44-26, early in the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs pulled away from a tired Anahuac team with a 9-0 run (led by six points from Otems) for the largest lead of the game.
Also putting points up on the scoreboard for the Lady ‘Dawgs were Breanna Birdow (eight points, seven rebounds), Johnson (seven points, five rebounds), Winn (six points, four rebounds) and Taivionna Daniels (six points).
Leading Anahuac were Jade Bradford with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Kalari Clark with 11 points and five rebounds.
Hitchcock faces the winner of Tuesday’s bi-district game between Nacogdoches Central Heights and Crockett (located roughly 50 miles north of Huntsville) at a time, date and location to be determined.