By JUSTIN RAINS
Cayuga girls’ basketball coach Tommy Cross said at one point earlier this season that he’d “rather win ugly than lose pretty.”
On Friday, that’s exactly what his team managed to do.
Despite shooting a woeful 39 percent from the field, the Ladycats outlasted Hubbard, 58-53, at Cayuga High School Friday.
After a first quarter that saw Cayuga take a 12-6 lead, Hubbard took control of the game in the second. The Lady Jags outscored Cayuga 21-12 in the frame to take a three-point lead into halftime.
But, Cayuga answered quickly and opened up the third quarter on a 9-2 run that saw them retake the lead. From there, Cayuga never looked back.
The Ladycats slowly extended their lead, and with five minutes to play in the game Shawnta Knox grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in to put Cayuga up 47-42.
Hubbard pulled back to within five late in the fourth with back-to-back buckets from Dallas Fletcher and Tia Parks to make it 51-46, but Madyson Gunnels extended the lead to seven with two free throws less than a minute later.
After a Cayuga turnover let the Lady Jags get back to within five, Molly Griffey and Madison Spears each hit shots inside to extend the lead to 57-48 with just over a minute to play to effectively end things.
Hubbard made things a bit interesting with 12 seconds to play, when Nakaila Banks made a lay-up and then Fletcher turned a steal into a lay-up to cut the lead to four. But, by then it was too late.
The win was a big one for Cayuga, who moved to 13-8 overall and 2-1 in district play. The loss dropped Hubbard to 17-5 overall and 2-1 in league play. The win gives Cayuga an early advantage on the Lady Jags, and Cayuga’s lone loss so far has come to state-ranked Kerens.
Knox led Cayuga with 15 points while also pulling down five rebounds, and Gunnels added 12 of her own.
Spears had 11 and four rebounds, while Griffey had 10 and four rebounds as well.
Cayuga returns to action Tuesday when the Ladycats host Cross Roads. Games begin at 4 p.m.
SLOCUM 51, Normangee 31
The second-ranked Slocum girls’ basketball team rebounded from its Tuesday loss to Lovelady Friday with a 51-31 romp past Normangee, which included a 34-10 lead at the half.
Valerie Larkin had a huge game for the Lady Mustangs, scoring 23 points. Slocum got nine points from both Jordan Ives and Landry Lane.
The Lady Mustangs (21-2, 2-1) return to action Tuesday when they travel to Leon. Games begin at 4 p.m.
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at email@example.com