Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Sports

December 3, 2013

Lady Jackets improve to 7-2 with win over Nolan Catholic

FORT WORTH — The No. 23-ranked Lady Jackets jumped out to a 17-4 first-quarter lead over Nolan Catholic and never looked back as Cleburne rolled to a 61-26 victory.

The win improved Cleburne’s season record to 7-2 heading into a big weekend at the Ennis Tournament starting Thursday.

The Lady Jackets used suffocating defense as they recorded 18 steals as a team, led by Akarian Morgan’s six steals and Bria McCullough’s four steals.

“We pressed them and put some pressure on them,” Cleburne Coach Jamie Calahan said. “In the second quarter, our defense relaxed a little bit and gave up 12 points. I didn’t like that, but besides that quarter, our defense was pretty dominant.”

The 12 points Cleburne allowed in the second quarter was the only quarter in which Nolan Catholic scored in double figures. Cleburne held Nolan Catholic to four points in the first, eight points in the third and two points in the fourth.

Calahan always preaches defense, rebounding and getting off to fast starts, and the Lady Jackets excelled in all three phases Tuesday night.

“It was big [jumping out to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter],” Calahan said. “We always talk about starting fast and getting going and keeping the pressure on. Our defense is what’s going to help us. That’s what we strive for is on the defensive end. I thought we did a pretty good job of pressuring. I thought we gave up some easy ones, but when you pressure full court like we do, you’ll give up a couple. It was a good team effort.”

Courtney Jeffcoat led the Lady Jackets in scoring with 18 points. McCullough added nine points while Avery Hough and Jasline Chandler scored eight points apiece. Chandler led Cleburne with eight rebounds. Bri Guzman added seven points.

“Courtney shot the ball really well,” Calahan said. “Our stats don’t pile up on one person because we’re such a deep team and we share the ball.”

The Lady Jackets face W.T. White at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Ennis Tournament.

“We’re just trying to build and keep getting better,” Calahan said. “One day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time. We want to keep getting better at what we do. I don’t think we’ve hit our peak yet.

“The Ennis Tournament is going to be just as tough as the Fantasy of Lights last week. All three of our tournaments are pretty solid.”

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