The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Lady Pirate basketball team was unable to put away the West Oso Lady Bears after surrendering a fourth quarter lead in a 52-44 loss Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Oso.

The loss gives RFHS a 2-2 district record and an overall record of 12-11.

RFHS Head Girls Basketball Coach Mark Malone said his team played a great game, but for only three quarters. The Lady Pirates shut down the Lady Bears offensively and held a 10-point lead at the half. However, Oso played a strong second half to steal the game away from RFHS.

“It’s a sign of a young team,” said M. Malone. “We only have one senior in our program right now and everyone else that comes off the bench is a freshman or sophomore. Yeah, we’re real athletic and we’re talented, but you’ve got to do the little things consistently for four quarters to win.”

In the first quarter, RFHS locked down the Lady Bears and allowed only five points to RFHS’ nine. The RFHS’ offense was moving the ball well with multiple players contributing on the boards. Kaylee Howell, Alyssa Garcia, Jordan Malone, and Lilith Solis each had a bucket that gave RFHS a 9-5 lead to end the first.

In the second, RFHS continued to play Oso well defensively. Oso struggled to move the ball on the perimeter and failed to sink the few good looks that were given to them by the RFHS defense. Howell and Solis went on a relentless attack against the Oso interior and found success, whether it was making shots or forcing numerous fouls in the paint. Howell scored seven points in the quarter and went 5-7 at the line to help give RFHS a 22-12 lead at the half.

In the third, Oso began its comeback and looked like a different team in the second half. Khiera Johnson of Oso led a charge for the Lady Bears in scoring 14 points in the quarter, outscoring RFHS’ total for the quarter by one point. Oso began to play a more physical game and scored enough points to put them right back in the game. While RFHS struggled defensively, they remained consistent on offense with J. Malone and Howell keeping RFHS just above Oso going into the fourth quarter 35-33.

In the fourth, Oso continued its aggressive play on offense and took its first lead of the game with seven minutes remaining. Oso also put a big emphasis on containing Solis and Howell throughout the quarter. Oso’s game plan coming out of the half ultimately succeeded as RFHS could not retake the lead and fell to Oso 52-44.

While the win slipped away from RFHS, head coach M. Malone is optimistic the young team will pull it together and get healthier as the season progresses.

“I think it’s all starting to come together now,” said M. Malone. “The girls are starting to understand what we’re looking for and I think they’re starting to understand their roles better.”

Howell led RFHS in scoring with 17 points.

J. Malone finished with 14 points and Solis followed with seven.

RFHS played Orange Grove Friday, Jan. 10. They play again at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at home against Sinton.

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