Lady Hornets knocking on the door of sixth district title

Jan. 30—HUNTSVILLE — With two games remaining in the 2023-24 District 16 slate, Huntsville has itself in a prime spot to clinch its sixth consecutive title.

The Lady Hornets struggled out of the gates but quickly turned things up as they grabbed the 62-21 win over Nacogdoches to improve to 8-0 in District play.

Huntsville also started the game without senior guard Ma'Halia Twine as she was pulled from the starting lineup.

"The girls scared me a bit early on but a lot of our shots didn't fall like I wanted them to," Huntsville head coach LaToya Bennett said. "Defensively, the girls locked in and of course, we got some turnovers. Once Ma'Halia came in, she picked up the tempo for us. I was excited she was able to handle the adversity."

In several games this season, Huntsville opened the games with massive runs but that wasn't the case for the Lady Hornets against Nacogdoches. Nac came out and punched them in the mouth and opened the game with a lead.

Before Huntsville knew it, they trailed early in the game and faced a bit of a deficit. But Huntsville fought and held an advantage by the end of the first frame. Nac didn't go down lightly though.

To open the second quarter the Lady Dragons punched back with a 6-0 run to make it close, but ultimately the Lady Hornets found their groove.

"I'm actually excited that we have a little more adversity in the district this year because it's gonna help us down the stretch," Bennett said. "Nac is very physical, which causes us to do things differently offensively. We weren't able to feed Chelsea as much early on. I think the girls settled down and made some shots to win the ball game."

After the halftime break, Huntsville turned it up another notch, and their defense prevailed. Nac was limited to two third-quarter points and five fourth-quarter points to run away with the game.

Twine, while not getting the start, still came out and dominated for the Lady Hornets. In her four quarters of play, she grabbed a game-high 20 points and led the team. Part of her success was her ability to make free throws going 4/4 from the charity stripe.

Sophomore Alyvionia Winn added another 14 points, drilling two buckets from behind the arc.

"Keep the tempo and be able to switch at every opportunity," Bennett said. "Some of our young girls are still learning. Once we were able to draw it up on the board, they understood."

Now, Huntsville is on the cusp of winning its sixth straight district title. The Lady Hornets are 8-0 in District 16 play and hold the clear cut path to the title, all that is needed is a win Friday against Dayton.

"It's special. To be able to come into a place like Huntsville that always has talent is wonderful," Bennett said. "We are one middle school, one high school town and we have to capitalize on the talent we have. We have what we have and we are building off the young talent."

Huntsville and Dayton will square off in the Lady Hornets' last home game of the season. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Paul Bohan Gym. The game will be broadcast on the 101.7 KSAM YouTube channel.