Led by a solid defense in a physical game, the Clear Creek Wildcats clawed out a 40-36 win over the Alvin Lady Jackets in a key District 24-6A contest Tuesday at Butler Gym.
“They’re a tough team, very physical, so we knew that our defense had to carry us through the night,” Clear Creek head coach Kristi Odom said. “We tried to contest every shot, box out, flood the paint to help out on (Alvin post Natalie Miller). We did something right.”
The win improves Clear Creek’s district record to 7-5, which puts the Wildcats now all alone in third place and one game ahead of Alvin and Clear Falls (both 6-6). Clear Creek also has a favorable schedule down the stretch, next playing 7 p.m. Friday at Friendswood (2-10) before closing out the season 7 p.m. next Tuesday against Dickinson (0-12) at home.
“If we take care of business, we should clinch third,” Odom said.
In what was a close game throughout (no team held more than a six-point advantage), Alvin led Clear Creek, 28-26, at the end of the third quarter and appeared to have the Wildcats on the ropes in the early stages of the final period when Madison Becker (12 points, seven rebounds) drove for a 2-pointer and then hit Dalila Duran for an open 2-pointer for a 32-26 lead.
Clear Creek’s Lauren Sinclair (14 points, seven rebounds) came up huge for the Wildcats late with eight fourth-quarter points, maybe none more important than a strong drive to the basket and a pair of free throws that got the Alvin lead down to 32-31.
Later in the fourth quarter, a pair of free throws knocked down by Kyndal Johnson (10 points) gave Clear Creek a 35-34 lead, and another Sinclair drive to the bucket put the Wildcats up, 37-35, with 1:25 to play.
The Wildcats certainly didn’t help their cause in the fourth quarter at the free throw line (8-for-15 in the period), but DeAhzia Smith (five points, five rebounds) finally split a pair with 2.8 seconds left to put the game on ice.
“I’m happy with the win, but we had a lot of mistakes, things we could’ve done better,” Odom said. “But, for a young team to be beating teams heavy with seniors, I’m proud of them — proud of their effort and their hustle. They’re giving it everything they’ve got.”
Clear Creek’s defense managed to keep Alvin’s leading scorer Andreea Mancha (13 points) without points in the fourth quarter. Usually an imposing force, Miller was held to just two points and six rebounds.
A 3-pointer off an offensive rebound by Sam Simmons (five points), and a 2-pointer off an offensive rebound by Macie Illyes (two points, seven rebounds) helped give Clear Creek a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the teams exchanged the lead four times before Clear Creek took a 17-16 lead into the halftime break.