OKOLONA – The Aberdeen Lady Bulldogs stifled Houlka on Saturday afternoon, holding the Lady Wildcats to just 14 points in the 48-14 victory.
“We’re trying some different combinations and lineups to see what works, but the girls came out and played good defense, which is what we are trying to hang our hats on all year,” Aberdeen coach Lorenzo Conley said. “We have been looking for energy, and we’re playing around 10-11 girls, so we’re trying to build that depth.”
Aberdeen held a double-digit lead at 27-10 at the half and then held Houlka to four points in the final two quarters.
The Lady Bulldogs got a pair of free throws from Jamiyah Hoskins, two baskets by Jamia Johnson and a bucket each from Paige Matthews and Taylor Harrison in the first quarter.
Aberdeen found its groove in the 17-point second quarter, however, as Hoskins and Johnson each sank a pair of three-pointers. Harrison added another three points on a layup and a free throw.
Miyunia Thomas extended the lead to 29-10 on a putback to open the third quarter, and Kierstyn Riddle followed her up with a basket.
Johnson and Hoskins were good again from long range as they drained back-to-back threes, and Tamia Walker finished off the 12-0 run to make it 39-10 before Houlka could crack the scoreboard in the third.
Arianna Prophette and Harrison scored to end the third with a 42-12 Lady Bulldogs’ lead.
Harrison, Thomas and Johnson put in baskets in the fourth to finish off the win.
Hoskins scored 11 points to lead the way, and Johnson was right behind with 10 points.
“We had some girls come in and do some really good things that I had been looking for,” Conley said. “I’m excited about the upcoming future for them, and I think when we get to the division, we’re going to have good depth. We’re just trying to work on us, and we were trying to work on our zone offense and make sure we do the small things like rebounding and making sure we are keeping people in front of us on the defensive end.”
(B) Houlka 76, Aberdeen 56
The Bulldogs hung with the Wildcats for the first three quarters, but Houlka pulled away in the fourth as they outscored Aberdeen 23-9.
Houlka’s Seth Winter opened the game with a three-pointer, but Tae Johnson answered right away for the Bulldogs. Aberdeen led 9-6 after a 6-0 run that included a pair of layups from Jenari Bell, but the Wildcats had an 8-0 run of their own to lead 14-9.
Houlka pushed that out to 17-11 before Jaylan Loggan hit a three and T.J. Fields added a basket to pull to within one at 17-16 at the end of the first.
The two teams went back and forth early in the second, but Bryston Jenkins put Aberdeen back up at 21-20, and a Loggan three and a Jeremiah White bucket gave them a six-point advantage at 26-20.
The Wildcats went on an 11-0 run to regain the lead in the final minute, but Johnson sank a three with just three seconds left in the first half to make it 35-33 at the break.
Javian McMillian tied the game to open the third before Houlka went up by as many as five. Johnson continued his strong night and hit back-to-back treys for a 43-42 Aberdeen lead, but Houlka answered again to regain the lead for good. Johnson and Bell kept it close late in the third, and the Bulldogs trailed 53-47 going into the fourth.
Houlka started the fourth off on a 10-2 run to stretch the lead to double digits before Johnson’s fifth three of the game ended the drought. Fields followed that up with a basket to trail by nine but another 11-0 run iced the win for the Wildcats.
Berry finished as the game’s leading scorer with 36 points, but Johnson led the way for Aberdeen with 19 points, making five threes. Winter added 18 points for Houlka.