The top-seeded Couch Lady Indians may have suffered a brief moment of sluggishness in the first round of the Class 2 District 9 Tournament at Mansfield High School Feb. 23, but it turns out the Lady Indians had the right stuff to shake it off.
Namely, Lorra Wicker and Whitney Mills.
Wicker had an outstanding first half by tossing in 16 of her 18 points in the game, while Mills blew up for 11 of her game-high 20 in the second half to help Couch rout eighth-seeded Mansfield 72-39.
The Lady Lions, however, did give the home crowd something to cheer about early on, before things got out of hand for Mansfield.
Couch (23-4) was up 12-2 midway into the first period, fueled by Wicker's dominance in the paint, when Mansfield fought back.
Getting their hands in the passing lanes, the Lady Lions started tipping the ball and turning turnovers into points.
Mansfield capped the first period with a 15-0 run, wrapped up by back-to-back 3-pointers from Savanna Cornelius and Brittany Cruse that gave the Lady Lions a 17-12 lead after one.
This lead turned into a 22-12 advantage for Mansfield after Cornelius scored the first five points of the second.
That's when Couch said enough is enough.
Looking more like they did in the early part of the first period instead the last half of the opening frame, the Lady Indians re-took the lead for good with a devastating 17-0 run before intermission.
Fittingly, Wicker started the run off with a spinning move in the paint, the first two of her seven points during this burst.
Tara Combs (eight points) chipped in with a steal and layup, while Mills and Jessica Jones (five points) also notched easy hoops in this explosive stretch for Couch.
When the smoke had cleared from this big burst, the Lady Indians had turned a 10-point deficit into a seven-point lead, 29-22, at intermission.
There would be signs of lethargy from Couch in the second two periods of play.
Mills made sure of that.
She scored 11 points in the third period to keep Mansfield in Couch's rearview mirror.
The Lady Indians used a huge 19-zip run in the third to move ahead 50-24 at the 2:24 mark.
With a comfortable 59-30 lead after three, Couch then put Mansfield away in the fourth, ending the afternoon with a 72-39 victory.
Rebecca See finished with six points for Couch, while Courtney Redus and Sara Smiedala had four points each. Kassi Burr, Taylor Hanser and Crystal Britt end the game with two points apiece, while Rachel Armstead posted one point for the Lady Indians.