The McLennan Highlassies and Ranger Lady Rangers battled to the bitter end tonight in North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference action with the Lady Rangers stealing a one-point victory at home, 55-54.
The ball didn’t seem to be bouncing the Highlassies’ way in the first quarter. Ranger outscored McLennan 14-4 in the opening period to build a double-digit lead. The Lady Rangers opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 15, 19-4 with 8:21 to go in the first half. A KeeKee Nowlin jumper in the lane for two ended McLennan’s scoring drought and the Highlassies rallied to cut Ranger’s lead down to eight. The Lady Rangers scored three points from the free throw line in the final two seconds of the half to take the 26-15 advantage into the locker room.
McLennan stepped it up in the second half and found their offense. The Highlassies opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to pull within six, 28-22, with 7:36 remaining in the period. McLennan continued to chip away at the lead pulling within two on a Shekenia Green bucket off an inbound pass under the goal with 2:40 to go in the third. Ranger would lead by four heading into the final period, 38-34.
The Highlassies continued to battle in the fourth quarter. Ranger extended their lead to seven, 45-38, with 8:20 remaining in the game but McLennan didn’t back down. Anndrea Lloyd put together a 4-0 run comprised of a put back following an offensive rebound and pair of free throws to pull the Highlassies within four. The Lady Rangers added a free throw to go back up by five with just over four minutes to play. McLennan tied the game at 51 with 2:01 to go. Ranger went up by two on a Ny’Keria Jones bucket with 1:40 to play. Jaylonn Walker then went 3-4 from the free throw line to give the Highlassies the one-point lead at 54-53 with 27 seconds remaining. Ranger’s Kayla Mize cut through the lane for a layup with 6.7 seconds to go to give the Lady Rangers the one-point advantage. McLennan had a chance to steal the win on a last second shot but it fell short.
Velma Mitchell led the Highlassies with 17 points and KeeKee Nowlin added 11.
In men’s action, Jashawn Talton scored 25 points but it wasn’t enough as the No. 23 Highlanders fell to the Rangers 84-63.
Both teams appeared sloppy to start the game as they traded turnovers for the first few possessions. Jashawn Talton drove in the lane for a bucket to begin the scoring for the Highlanders and Jordan Skipper-Brown added a jumper from underneath to put McLennan up 4-0 with 18 minutes to play in the first half. Ranger took the lead at 5-4 with 15:44 to go in the first. The teams traded buckets and McLennan led 8-7 with 14:12 on the clock. That would prove to be the Highlanders’ final lead of the contest. Ranger used a 12-0 run over the next four minutes to break the game open and McLennan never recovered. The Rangers led 40-22 at the break and continued to pull away in the second half.
The Highlassies return to The Highlands Saturday to host the Cisco Lady Wranglers at 2 p.m. The Highlanders return to action Feb. 14, traveling to Southwestern Christian in Terrell.