BY BRIAN BESCH, Enterprise staff
The Lady Pirates used a press and ball movement to take down Rosehill Christian 54-43 at homecoming in Leggett Friday night.
Leggett began with a low post presence from Ashley Collins, who had six first quarter points to give the Lady Pirates an early advantage in the contest. Tyanna Barlow raced out with 15 points in the opening frame, pacing the Leggett offense.
Rosehill was accurate early on from the outside, hitting three attempts from behind the arc. Two were from Mariah Baz, who led the Lady Eagles with 17 for the night.
Starter Kaycee Mitchell went down with a shoulder injury early in the game. Barlow said Mitchell is a starter that plays big minutes and usually contributes to the Lady Pirate point total.
A smothering defense and full-court press made it difficult for Rosehill Christian to maintain a consistent offense, but turnovers and unforced errors plagued Leggett in the second period. The two teams entered the midway break with a 31-25 home team lead.
"I saw some good and I saw some bad," Leggett Coach Terri Barlow said. "We kind of broke away as a team for a while, arguing a little bit on the floor, but we had some good passes and played good team ball."
Rosehill was able to close the margin of lead to 39-37 in the third by using its height to eliminate Lady Pirate second chances on the boards. The Lady Eagles found gaps in the Leggett zone, hitting several uncontested buckets.
However, Leggett would again distance itself with the press in the final quarter. Though out of sync at times, the Lady Pirates created opportunities for each other, spreading the points between Barlow, Brianna Criswell, Keyera Korona and Olivia Battise.
"They run the press pretty good sometimes and sometimes I get too relaxed and laid back," Barlow said. "Our strength is teamwork when we play a good team ball, but our weakness is hustling and getting back (on defense). We don't rotate to the right spot and help each other on defense."
Barlow led all scores with 25, while Battise finished with nine and Collins added eight.
"When it comes to it, she'll give (the ball) up," Barlow said of her daughter and leading scorer. "She makes me frustrated sometimes, because she gives it up when she shouldn't, but she shares the ball and they are all looking for each other. That's what I like about this team."
Baz had 17 and Halle Staib ended with 13 for the visitors from Tomball.
The coach said she expects her squad to compete for a district banner this year, with one other Polk County school their biggest challenge.
"I think we will come out first or second and Goodrich is our main competition."