Oh what a difference a week makes.
After falling to the Houston Lady Tigers 52-42 in the first round of the Mansfield Invitational Tournament Dec. 12, the Thayer Lady Bobcats opened South Central Association play Dec. 19 by hosting the aforementioned Lady Tigers.
In their loss to Houston in the Mansfield Tourney, a sluggish third period in which they were outscored 19-9 by the Lady Tigers cost Thayer big-time. This time around, the Lady Cats responded by outpacing Houston 23-21 in a high-scoring fourth period to emerge with a 50-42 victory over the Lady Tigers.
With Thayer up by six, 27-21, after three, Houston clawed its way to within four points of the lead in the fourth period, with Lady Tiger Trezha Malam playing bombs-away by canning three triples in the frame.
Fortunately for the Lady Cats, they were equipped to handle Houston's comeback bid, thanks to LaShanda Horton. Horton hit for seven points, including some big free throws, in the game's last three minutes to help Thayer prevail. Horton paved the way with a team-high 17, 13 of which came in the second half for Thayer.
The first period was a typical SCA battle, with the teams locked at 8-all after one.
Krysta Adams (11 points) got Thayer off on solid footing with a jumper to open the game, giving the Lady Cats a 2-0 lead.
Micah Stevens (eight points) got in the lane for a couple of quick hoops in the first, and a hoop by Heather Coffel (nine points) at the 1:08 mark pulled Thayer even with Houston heading into the second period.
Thayer did manage to open up a six-point lead, the biggest by either side to that point of the game, at the 3:42 mark of the second, thanks to a 5-zip burst.
Horton closed the frame with four straight free throws to give the Lady Cats a 20-14 lead at intermission.
This six-point cushion at the break proved important, as the teams scored seven points each in the third period.
Up by that same six-point margin after three, the Lady Cats fended off Houston's charge down the stretch in the fourth, to take an eight-point win in their conference opener.
Chelsey Cabrales tallied three points for Thayer, with Autumn Forschler and Brittany Allen adding one point each.