However, when the dust settled in the Abbeville gym, the Lady Wildcats had ended Erath’s five-game winning streak, while extending its own to nine games, with a 47-32 win.
AHS head coach Dean Dronet stressed that the victory was hard-fought.
“You’ve got to hand it to Erath,” he said. “They’re well-coached. They’re fundamentally sound. I knew we were going to have to play a good game to beat them.
“We were fortunate to pull it together, especially in the second half.”
The Lady Wildcats’ 15-point margin of victory is a bit misleading.
The Lady Bobcat tailed by just one point after the first quarter at 9-8, as a typically stifling Erath press defense did its job. Abbeville led just 18-12 at the half.
Dronet said his team’s handling of the press is a result of hard work.
“We work on that daily in practice,” said Dronet, “Breaking the press and things of that nature... But, give Erath credit. They’re a good little scrappy group.”
That “scrappy” EHS defense held the Lady Wildcats’ leading scorer, Elaina Baytop, to just four points in the first half. Baytop came out of her shell in the second half, though, compiling 15 points in the last two periods.
Abbeville out-scored the visitors 29-20 in the second half to cinch the win.
“I thought we did a decent job in the second half,” Dronet said. “We did the things we needed to do to secure the vitory. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but a victory’s a victory. We’re 9-0 (in district) and we’re happy to be there.”
Baytop had 19 points for Abbeville. Dyantae Perkins scored 10 points for the Lady Wildcats, Bianca Levy and Mallory Plaisance each had 7 points and Arrayia Starland and Barbara Bryant each scored two points.
Alaina Harrington and Megan Norris co-led Erath with 10 points each. Ashley DuBois had five points, Alexis Harrington had four points and Caitlin Domingues had three points.
Each team now has only three district games remaining to secure a playoff spot.
Abbeville (21-6, 9-0)is scheduled to play on the road at Patterson (8-14, 3-5) on Friday, Feb. 3.
The Lady Bobcats (15-12, 5-3) are set to host North Vermilion (16-7, 8-1), also on Friday.