Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


December 10, 2013

Lady Jackets open district play with win over Everman

EVERMAN — While the Lady Jackets didn’t earn any style points, Cleburne opened District 8-4A play with a 52-36 win at Everman on Tuesday night.

Cleburne struggled offensively at times, but Coach Jamie Calahan’s defense dug in deep and was the difference in the district-opening win.

Cleburne held Everman to 32 percent shooting while forcing the Lady Bulldogs into 27 turnovers.

“Our defense is going to give us a chance to win,” Calahan said. “We’ve got to get more crisp on offense. But it’s a district win and a road win, and those are not easy to come by. It’s our first step. Whether you win by two or 40, it’s a good win. We’ve just got to clean up some things. If we want to be somebody knocking on the door for a district championship, we’ve got to be better than that, but it’s a good, solid win.”

Everman scored the first seven points of the game, and the Lady Jackets’ first points of the night came with 4:45 left in the first quarter on a Courtney Jeffcoat 3-pointer.

The Lady Jackets ended the first quarter on a 13-0 run sparked by their full-court pressure defense, which forced Everman into nine first-quarter turnovers. Jeffcoat and Kelsi Chavez scored six points in the opening quarter as Cleburne held a 19-9 lead.

Cleburne’s bench scored 23 of the Lady Jackets’ 52 points, with many of those points coming early in the game via Chavez’s nine points and Bri Guzman’s eight points.

“The bench got us jump-started,” Calahan said. “We were kind of flat. The bench came in and made some positive plays. Kelsi made some buckets. Some other girls off the bench made some positive plays. They got us going in the right direction. We’re 11 deep, and like I told them, at some point in time, you’re going to get your chance to make positive plays. I have confidence in all of them.”

The Lady Jackets’ biggest lead of the night came late in the second quarter at 36-17 before Everman ended the half on a 4-0 scoring run to make it a 36-21 game.

Cleburne again struggled scoring in the third quarter. The Lady Jackets didn’t score in the third quarter until there was 1:18 left, but Cleburne ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 43-25 lead into the final quarter.

“When I first started [coaching at Cleburne], if we played ugly, we always lost,” Calahan said. “Now we can play ugly and still get some wins. Everman fought hard. Give credit to them. This is their home court. They got after us and made us a little uncomfortable in what they’re doing. But it’s a good road win to open district. District’s always going to be the toughest because everyone’s playing for that district championship. These games are going to be tough every single night.”

Nine players for Cleburne scored, led by Bria McCullough’s 13 points.

“[Balanced scoring is] what’s going to help us win a district championship,” Calahan said. “You can’t shut down one person. With us, you can go ahead and concentrate on one person but we have other people that will step up.”

McCullough added five assists, five rebounds and three steals. Courtney Jeffcoat scored seven points and a game-high seven assists to go along with three steals.

The Lady Jackets shot 39 percent from the floor as a team and committed 21 turnovers. Cleburne also struggled at the free throw line going 6-of-15.

On 19 of their converted field goals, the Lady Jackets had 16 assists.

Cleburne (9-3) hosts Waco University at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

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