Lady Hornets fend off scrappy Lovejoy squad, defend home court with 57-39 win
Going into Friday night’s contest against the Class 5A Lucas Lovejoy Lady Leopards, the Class 1A powerhouse Dodd City Lady Hornets were unbeaten. After the final horn sounded on their home court, the Lady Hornets emerged victorious against a scrappy Lovejoy squad. Thanks to timely buckets and tough defense down the stretch carried Dodd City to a 57-39 win.
“We rely on our defense,” Lady Hornets head basketball coach Alex Stephenson said. “Once we locked in and played collectively, it played into our favor.”
Dodd City (8-0) controlled the pace in a low-scoring affair in the early going. The Lady Hornets rolled to a 26-9 halftime lead, thanks largely into their suffocating defense. However, the pace picked up in the second half.
Led by senior guard Sam Basson, the Lady Leopards clawed their way back into the contest by finding a rhythm off of Basson’s dribble penetration and playmaking abilities. Basson’s handle and speed allowed her to create shots for herself and her teammates. Lovejoy closed to within 12 points on three separate occasions down the stretch every time Dodd City seemed poised to run away with the game.
When it mattered most, though, the home team saw its players rise to the challenge. High-effort play across the board from do-it-all junior Tori Dotson, clever and calculated guard-to-guard chemistry between sisters Dani and Rion Baccus, and quality defensive efforts from posts Journie Hilliard and Ali Preas allowed Dodd City to turn back every comeback attempt from the Lady Leopards.
Rion Baccus led the Lady Hornets with a game-high 17 points while the 6-foot-3 Hilliard anchored things down low with 15 points. Kylee Graves poured in 8 points while Preas was also strong down low with 7 points and several big rebounds. Lindsey Mauppin scored 6 points and Dani Baccus had 4 points. Basson led the Lady Leopards with a team-high 16 points.
Moving forward, the Lady Hornets will face more quality opponents each week, and Stephenson said he needs to see his girls get more consistent on both ends of the floor.
Dodd City will take the hardwood again at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against district foe Savoy, followed later by another game at 2 p.m. Friday at the North Lamar Pantherettes. For more sports coverage, click here.