Aaliyah Menefee scored 15 points, Aniya Cottrell had 11 and the Lufkin Lady Panthers used another stifling defensive performance to roll to a 45-30 win over the Hallsville Lady Bobcats in a key 16-5A game at Panther Gym Tuesday night.
Lufkin, which is alone in second place, entered the night a single game ahead of Hallsville in the district standings. With its seventh district win in eight contests, the Lady Panthers extended that lead out to two games while also clinching any potential tiebreakers.
The Lady Pack did it in familiar fashion as it never let Hallsville’s offense get going while using timely runs to seize control of the action.
After Hallsville got its only lead of the game on a pair of Kelci Wilson free throws, Lufkin answered with the next 7 points. Akyshia Cottrell started the run with a free throw and a steal and a layup before Meefee and Aniya Cottrell hit back-to-back layups for a 7-2 lead.
Lufkin led 13-8 after a quarter.
The Lady Panthers extended that margin out to 14 by scoring the first 9 points of the second quarter.
Aniya Cottrell got things going with a 3-point play and a layup before Courtnee Morgan made a layup. Kelby Coutee followed with a layup of her own, putting the Lady Panthers on top 22-8.
However, Hallsville avoided the early knockout by scoring the next 10 points in a 4-minute span that bridged the second and third quarters. Wilson scored six of those points and started the half with back-to-back buckets that narrowed a comfortable margin down to 22-18.
As was the case most of the night, Lufkin used its defense to get the play it needed as Tori Coleman had a steal and a layup to end a 7-minute scoring drought.
After Hallsville hit a free throw, Lufkin went on a 16-2 run that ended any Hallsville hopes.
Brookelyn Fowler got Lufkin back on the board with a putback before Menefee hit two free throws. Lufkin’s lead grew to 14 on a layup from Fowler and a 3-point play from Menefee before Hallsville answered with a bucket from Catherine Warford.
Coleman knocked down Lufkin’s only 3-pointer of the night to put the Lady Panthers on top 36-21 after three quarters.
Lufkin started the fourth quarter with layups from Aniya Cottrell and Menefee for a 40-21 advantage, which equaled the Lady Pack’s biggest of the night.
Other Lufkin scorers were Coleman and Fowler (6), Akyshia Cottrell (3) and Morgan and Coutee (2).
Lufkin plays at Marshall on Friday night.