Since the Mansfield Lady Tigers entered the 2A in 2020, one team has been a thorn in their side. Acorn. The series was 2-1 in Mansfield’s favor last season with both teams winning on their home court and the Lady Tigers being victorious in the Regional Tournament. Tiger fans may be in for a second helping of that kind of basketball as Acorn embarrassed Mansfield at Acorn earlier this season but the Lady Tigers enacted revenge on their home court on Tuesday, January 18th with a 68-52 victory.
Both teams eyed each other in warmups as tensions came to a T at the tip off. Acorn won the tip and headed down court only to be denied points by the Lady Tigers defense. Kynslee Ward and Sadie Roberts took turns stuffing the ball back into Acorns shooters faces to gain an early jump on the Blue Tigers. With a passionate defense tearing up the court, Alyson Edwards decided some offense was due. Edwards hit back-to-back layups, drew two fouls leading to hitting 3 of 4 free throws, and then drained a 3-point shot to top it off. Sadie Roberts and Skylynn Harris took not and put up some points of their own with Roberts downing a layup and Harris dropping some air mail with a 3-point shot. With all of the aggression and heart on both sides of the ball, Mansfield still knew the fight wasn’t over as they closed the first quarter down 18-15 to Acorn.
The Lady Tigers defensive aggression began to bite them in the tail early in the second half. Although the defense was still solid, mental mistakes and fouls started stacking up. This forced Mansfield to peel off their hardnosed pressure for fear of fouls and gave Acorn a chance to go all out with their offense. The Blue Tigers rattled off smooth shots to gain a six-point lead on Mansfield. That lead closed quickly in the closing minutes of the second quarters as all five of the Lady Tigers on the court got hot at the same time. Sarah Fisher stood string in the lane allowing an Acorn player to hit her drawing a charge. Fisher sank her free throw, and it was off to the races from there. Kynslee Ward, Skylynn Harris, and Alyson Edwards got a couple of easy backboard buckets while Natalie Allison tipped in two layups and sank two free throws. With just seconds left in the half, the Lady Tigers were up by one point but a foul right at the buzzer resulted in two made free throws by the Blue Tigers giving Acorn the 32-31 lead going into the half.
Mansfield started the second half playing lights out basketball. Fouls were no longer a concern for the Lady Tigers, giving Acorn all they could handle was the game plan from here on out. Kynslee Ward was crowned the third quarter rebound queen as she fought tooth and tail for every basketball that came off the backboards. With those rebounds, Ward found her teammates down court with precise passes for scores to get the stands on their feet. Alyson Edwards and Skylynn Harris were a couple of the benefactors of Wards passing for score, but it was Sadie Roberts who teed off on Acorn in the third quarter. Roberts, who was picked on by Acorn for most of the first half, had had enough and went to town on the Blue Tigers hitting two 3-point shots and four big time layups. Defensively the Lady Tigers were determined to force Acorn to submit as Natalie Allison swatted away an inbound pass and Sarah Fisher rolled on the floor fighting for loose balls. This was an all or none game and Mansfield showed they were out to take it all. Acorn was able to close in on Mansfield, but the Lady Tigers ended the third quarter with their first lead of the night with a 49-41 edge over the Blue Tigers.
The fourth and final quarter was all Mansfield. Skylynn Harris took the fourth quarter personally and began to blow lightbulbs out of the scoreboard hitting 10 points on the Blue Tigers. The Lady Tigers were so in tuned in the fourth quarter, that Alyson Edwards and Sadie Roberts made a Sports Center Highlight when Edwards was knocked down with a rebound by Acorn allowing ball to go into the air, Roberts was there to catch it midair for a layup. Even though the Lady Tigers had 9 fouls going into the latter half of the final quarter, they still played full tilt and didn’t let off the gas until the final buzzer sounded with a 68-52 final. Sadie Roberts led the team in scoring with 22 points in the game. Roberts wasn’t the only one to hit double digits though as Skylynn Harris drained 17 points Alyson Edwards hung up 16 points against the Blue Tigers. Natalie Allison and Kynslee Ward rounded out the scoring for Mansfield with a combined 13 points in the game.
The Lady Tigers have a three-win streak against conference opponents with big wins over Magazine, JC Westside, and a redemption win over Acorn. Going into the second half of the season, all eyes in the conference are on Mansfield as the Lady Tigers as they are the hottest team on the court. Next up on the Lady Tigers road to redemption will be a rematch against the Future School Lady Rockets. The Rockets shocked Mansfield earlier on in the season with a blowout over the Lady Tigers. But the Lady Tigers are playing like they’re capable of now so the outcome may not be the same this go around.