In dramatic, come-from-behind fashion the McLennan Highlassies defeated the Temple Lady Leopards 66-62 tonight at The Highlands.
McLennan began the scoring with back-to-back buckets in the paint by Anndrea Lloyd. Kristen Nelson put Temple on the board with a 3-pointer from the corner with 8:47 to play in the first quarter. The Highlassies led 6-5 midway through the quarter. Jaylonn Walker went on a 5-0 run to give McLennan the 11-5 lead. The Highlassies extended the lead to nine, 20-11, with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter. Temple rallied, ending the quarter on a 10-2 run to cut the Highlassies lead to one going to the second period, 22-21.
The Lady Leopards took their first lead of the game on a Chandra Nunez 3-pointer with 9:07 remaining in the second. Temple extended their lead to nine with 2:33 to play in the second and led 37-30 at intermission.
An Anndrea Lloyd free throw combined with a put-back basket by KeeKee Nowlin for McLennan to start the third cut the Temple lead to four. The Lady Leopards pulled away down the stretch in the third and led 49-42 going in the final period.
Temple led by eight, 58-50, with five minutes remaining in the game. A pair of free throws from Anndrea Lloyd followed by a pair from KeeKee Nowlin and a Lloyd bucket off the assist from Jaylonn Walker pulled McLennan within two, 58-50. A basket by Nunez would put Temple back up by four, 60-56. Walker drained a 3-pointer off a JonNá McDonald assist followed by a layup off an inbound play by Nowlin gave the Highlassies the 61-60 lead. Walker added a free throw to put McLennan up 62-60 with 37.5 seconds to play. A pair of Makayla Gatewood free throws for Temple tied the game at 62 with 22.9 seconds to go. Jaylonn Walker and Shekenia Green went a perfect 4-4 from the line in the final 11 seconds to seal the victory.
Sophomore Jaylonn Walker led the Highlassies with 19 points. KeeKee Nowlin recorded the double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Velma Mitchell and Anndrea Lloyd added 11 points each.
In men’s action, the No. 19 McLennan Highlanders defeated the Temple Leopards 86-73.
It was a hard-fought battle from to the opening tip to the final buzzer. Temple jumped out to an early 4-0 lead 6-2, with 17:52 to play in the first half. The Highlanders responded with a 7-0 run over the next minute to take the 9-6 lead. McLennan doubled the lead to six, 16-10, with 14:27 remaining in the half. Temple rallied to take a one-point lead at the midway point of the half. McLennan led 29-27 with just under seven minutes to play. The Highlanders extended the lead to five before the Leopards rallied again to tie the game at 39 at the half.
The game remained tit-for-tat for the majority of the second half. The Highlanders led 68-66 with just under seven minutes to go. McLennan used a 6-0 run over the next two minutes to give themselves some breathing room and extend the lead to eight. Temple pulled within four but back-to-back 3-pointers from Daniel Pinho Severo and Javen Hedgeman put the came out of reach.
Xaiver Armstead led the Highlanders with 22 points including five 3-pointers. Jashawn Talton and Javen Hedgeman scored 18 and 17, respectively. Daniel Pinho Severo chipped in 11.
Central Texas rivalry week continues Saturday as McLennan hosts Hill. The women will tipoff at 2 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 4 p.m.