After a defensive struggle in the first half which found Quitman leading 11-7 at intermission, the Quitman Lady Bulldogs exploded for 17 third quarter points on their way to a 45-34 District 12-3A win over Eustace. The victory raised the Lady Bulldog district slate to 2-2 and 5-12 on the year.
The Lady Bulldogs hit on 13-21 free throws in the second half to keep Eustace from closing the gap leading to the win. Leading just 11-7 at the start of the third quarter, senior Molly Tanner swished a 10-foot jump shot and Shelby Hayes made a bucket to make it 15-7.
Madalyn Spears followed that by making a shot on a great pass from Hayes and being fouled in the process Spears put in the free throw to give Quitman an 18-7 lead they would never give up.
A hustling and ball-hawking defense continued to pressure Eustace into numerous turnovers. A Julia Simpkins three-point shot with 26 seconds remaining gave Quitman a 28-12 cushion heading into the final eight minutes.
The fast and furious fourth quarter saw both teams open up and the shots started falling. Quitman went on to score 17 final quarter points while Eustace finally found the range to hit for 22 points, but it was not enough as the Lady Bulldogs got the key home district win.
“We had a lot of success with our offensive rebounding tonight. I was really proud of our girls staying strong in the fourth quarter and not getting rattled,” Coach Amanda Rucker said. “We do keep improving with each game and that’s all I can ask. The girls work hard and it is starting to pay off.”
Spears led Quitman in scoring with 15 points while Tanner and Hayes each added eight points. Tanner was outstanding, playing an all around solid game, hauling down 18 rebounds, claiming several assists and two blocked shots. Junior Utopia Henry added seven points, eight rebounds and had three blocked shots.
The Lady Bulldogs next game will be at home Friday against Mineola.