By Jude McClaren
The Bobcats played a game themed around adversity, as it was #Play4Kay night at Strahan Arena, where each free throw made contributed to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The Bobcats beat their own battle with adversity as Jayla Johnson, Jaeda Reed, and Da’Nasia Hood were suspended for violating team rules leaving only two post players active, but still beat the number 1 team in the Sun Belt conference, the Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock in a 50-48 nailbiter.
The Bobcats started off the first quarter playing tenacious defense, but the Trojans matched that same intensity as the first basket of the game didn’t come until the 5:38 mark in the first quarter, when Little Rock guard Kyra Collier scored a layup in the paint. Luckily for the Bobcats, senior guard Toshua Leavitt immediately responded with a pull up three-pointer to set the tone for the rest of the game against the first place team in the Sun Belt. While this sequence seemed to indicate things heating up in Strahan Arena, defense was the biggest factor in the quarter, as both teams shot a combined 16 percent from the floor, and only made five total baskets, leaving the score at 9-5 at the end of the period.
While for many parts of the season the death of the Bobcats had been in the second quarter, the ‘Cats won the quarter in this game by outscoring the Trojans 20 to 15. This surge of points was led by Bailey Holle, who scored nine points, including two three-point shots and three rebounds. This eruption of points led to the ‘Cats getting a slim but important 25-24 lead going into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, both teams seemed very motivated as the score was highly contested, including three times where the game was tied until the latter half of the quarter. That’s when the Bobcats ensured winning the period as Kennedy Taylor scored a layup inside the paint, Holle swished 2 free throws, and Brooke Holle scored a clutch three-pointer. This led the Bobcats to own the quarter 13-10, leaving the Bobcats with a 38-34 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was the most highly contested period of the game, with Arkansas-Little Rock a two-point winning by only a two-point difference, 14-12. Despite the ‘Cats ending up in the win column at the end, the Bobcats had some adversity, as they went through a two minute and 22-second scoring drought where the Trojans even took the lead. The Bobcats fought back though including a Holle three-pointer, and a Jazza Johns layup, and a Leavitt free throw to put the score at 50-48. The ‘Cats then played their best defense of the game to force the Trojans to take an airball three at the buzzer, giving the Bobcats a gutsy win which brings their record to 11-14 overall and 6-7 in conference play.
The Bobcats will go on the road in their next game against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. You can catch all the action this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on KTSW 89.9.
Featured image courtesy of Texas State Athletics.