A strong defensive effort and timely outside shooting helped lift the Friendswood Lady Mustangs over the Ball High Lady Tors, 52-40, in a District 22-5A showdown Tuesday at Friendswood High School.

The game was a battle of district unbeatens for sole possession of first place in the 22-5A standings. The win improves Friendswood to 6-0 in district, while Ball High falls to 5-1.

“I think these girls are learning what it takes to win, and they did some good things to make that happen tonight,” Friendswood head coach Daron Scott said.

Friendswood’s defensive game plan contributed to a slow start for Ball High — one from which the Lady Tors could not quite recover.

“We knew we had to keep them on the perimeter,” Scott said. “They do a great job of getting to the paint and getting to the free throw line. … For the most part, we did that. We executed our game plan really, really well.”

Nicole Nash and Kinsey Cole each had a 3-pointer and five total points to help get Friendswood out to a 13-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the Lady Mustangs’ defense held the Lady Tors’ standout one-two punch of Bebe Galloway and Ariana Smith without a field goal in the opening period. Two buckets from Lexie LaForte and two Galloway free throws represented Ball High’s points in the opening period.

“It was a bit of a slow start — offensively, for sure — and defensively, we could’ve had a better effort in all four quarters,” Ball High head coach Amanda King said.

As the Lady Tors continued to struggle on offense, Friendswood pushed its lead to 26-14 at halftime, setting the stage for what was a spirited back-and-forth second half.

With the Lady Mustangs leading 28-17 early in the third quarter, 3-pointers from Cole and Sallianne Roher on consecutive possessions and another swish from beyond the arc from Parker Burris saw Friendswood’s lead swell to 37-19.

With a 42-28 lead early in the fourth quarter, Friendswood’s offense hit a dry spell, and Ball High rallied with a 10-0 run to make things interesting with still just over 2 minutes left to play. But, Cole hit a dagger 3-pointer, and Friendswood was able to keep the Lady Tors at bay.

“That was a big shot for is, it kind of tore the lid off a little bit,” Scott said.

In addition to their outside shooting, the inside presence of Ashlyn Mason was a key component, as she led Friendswood in scoring with 13 points. Cole and Nash each had 11 points.

Although she dealt with some minor foul trouble for some stretches of the game, Galloway led the Lady Tors (and all players) in scoring with 18 points. LaForte added nine points, and Smith chipped in eight points.

Friendswood has another key 22-5A matchup coming up 7 p.m. Friday at Crosby, closing out the first half of district. Ball High looks to rebound 7 p.m. at home against Baytown Lee.

“We’ll be ready,” Scott said. “Our girls continue to grow, continue to get better, and they’re doing the little things that are making us successful.”

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

Sports Editor

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