Looking to gain a final win before the Christmas break, the Lufkin Lady Panthers instead ran into a determined Diboll Lady Jacks’ team. Using a barrage of 3-pointers and a pressure defense, Diboll avenged an earlier loss by rolling to a 57-40 win at Angelina College’s Shands Gym.
Mya Ward and Nia Mitchell scored 15 points apiece and combined for seven of Diboll’s 12 3-pointers as the Lady Jacks took a surprisingly easy win over the Lady Pack.
Lufkin was led by KeKe Cleveland, who scored 12 points. However, that wasn’t nearly enough for the Lady Panthers.
The first half was a series of errors for the Lady Panthers as they couldn’t control the ball and had several missed shots that helped Diboll build an early double-digit lead.
After Lufkin’s Jada Johnson tied the game on a layup, Diboll rattled off the next eight points with Mitchell finishing the run with back-to-back layups to make it 10-2.
Diboll eventually led 14-4 before Lufkin finished the quarter with back-to-back layups from Ivie Masie and KeKe Cleveland that made it 14-8.
The Lady Pack drew closer to start the second quarter with Alexis Hood converting a three-point play and Kurstyn Harden scoring a layup to make it 17-14.
However, that was the last true sign of life from the Lady Pack as Diboll’s Mitchell knocked down a 3-pointer and Williams made a layup to bring the lead back up to eight.
Lufkin’s KeKe Cleveland slowed down that momentum with a basket before Hannah Boykins hit a free throw, Mitchell drained two free throws and Mya Ward knocked down a triple to make it 28-16.
The Lady Panthers trimmed that lead to four on baskets by Alexis Hood and Deja Shepherd before Diboll’s Michelle Finley drained a three just before the buzzer to put the Lady Jacks on top 31-20.
Lufkin quickly fell even deeper behind thanks to back-to-back threes from Ward before it used its inside game to draw closer.
Jada Johnson hit two free throws, Harden scored in the paint and Massie hit a layup to make it 37-28.
That deficit moved down to eight a Harden basket that made it 38-30 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
However, as was the case most of the night, Diboll answered with a pair of long balls from Mitchell and Williams that made it 44-30 headed into the final eight minutes.
From there, Lufkin was never able to pull within single digits as the Lady Jacks avenged an earlier loss.
Other scorers for Lufkin were Harden (9), Da’Bria Crawford (7), Hood (6), Johnson (4) and Shepherd (2).
Other Diboll scorers were Boykins (5), Nikki White (4), Finley (3) and Whitehead (2).
Lufkin will be back in action Dec. 27-29 as it travels to play in the Aggieland Invitational in College Station.