Highlassies, Highlanders drop games at Temple
In true McLennan versus Temple rivalry fashion, the battle between the Highlassies and Lady Leopards went down to the final second. Both teams came into the contest looking for its first conference victory, and it would be the Lady Leopards getting the 76-73 win on their home court.
McLennan opened the game on a 4-0 run and led 6-5 midway through the first quarter. The momentum swung to Temple and the Lady Leopards used a 9-0 run to begin putting some distance between the two squads. Temple would lead by 12 after the first period, 23-11.
Temple continued to pull away in the second, extending the lead to 19, 33-14, with 6:54 to go in the period. The Lady Leopards led by 18, 39-21, with 3:47 to play in the first half. The Highlassies ended the period on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 13 at the break, 41-28.
The Lady Leopards kept McLennan at arm’s length throughout the third and for the majority of the fourth quarters. Temple led by 10, 68-58, with 7:32 remaining in the game. The Highlassies began to rally and pulled within one point on a Raveen Blue 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds to play, 74-73. Doriana Brown added a pair of free throws for the Lady Leopards with 8.4 seconds to go to put Temple up by three, 76-73. McLennan had a chance to tie the game and force overtime but Annya Moss’ 3-point attempt from the corner was blocked.
Annya Moss led the Highlassies with 21 points including five 3-pointers. Ny’Asia Goldman and Raveen Blue scored 12 points each. Anastacia Mickens and KeeKee Nowlin added 10 points each.
The men’s game would prove to be just as intense of a rivalry bout. Once again, it would be Temple claiming the narrow victory, 87-83.
As is always the case when Temple and McLennan meet on the hardwood, it was a rough, fast-paced game. The two teams traded the lead for the first four minutes of play. Temple would hold the one-point advantage at 10-9 with 16:42 to play in the first half. McLennan began to distance itself from the Leopards, using a 9-2 run over the next four minutes. The Highlanders would lead by eight, 26-5017, with eight minutes to go before the break. The Leopards rattled off a 17-0 run over the next six plus minutes to take the 34-25 lead and held the 37-30 lead at halftime.
Temple’s Sammy Brooks was on fire from downtown to start the second. Brooks drained five consecutive 3-points for the Leopards to start the half and build on the Leopards’ lead. Temple would lead by 21, 66-45, with 12:22 to play. The Highlanders didn’t let the large deficit deter their focus. Down 69-49 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, McLennan put together a run of its own. The Highlanders scored 10 unanswered points in a span of two minutes to cut the Leopards’ lead in half, 69-59. Temple extended the lead to 15 put McLennan’s rally didn’t stop. The Highlanders continued to chip away and cut the lead to one on as Casey Armour banked a shot off the glass with 1:15 to play, 80-79. Temple’s Curry Flowers hit a 3-pointer and two other Leopards made a free throw each to extend the lead to six. McLennan pulled within two on a Devyn Brewton shot in the lane off an inbound pass under the goal with 1.6 seconds on the clock but Kedarian Johnson sealed the win for Temple with a pair of free throws with 0.4 to go.
Xavier Armstead led the Highlanders with 26 points. Casey Armour and Javen Hedgeman rounded out the Highlanders in double figures with 15 and 12, respectively.
McLennan hosts Southwestern Christian Wednesday with women tipping off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.