The Mansfield Lady Tigers rarely take a drive down redemption road. With a 7-1 conference record and a 19-3 overall record one would think that they’d be overjoyed with their season up to this point. Most teams would and rightfully so. But the Lady Tigers don’t see it that way at all. They only see their three total losses. Now Mansfield is on a path to prove to themselves and their opponents that they are not defined by those losses. The Lady Tigers put the bus in overdrive and took redemption road to Mountainburg on Friday, February 3rd to take on a dangerous Lady Dragons team.
The best way to start any game is with a big score. In basketball, the biggest score is a three-point shot so Mansfields Kynslee Ward did just that. Now up 3-0, the Lady Tigers jumped into the fast lane. Seven Sanderson took a rebound and powered back up with a board bucket but Mountainburg dropped in two points on the other end of the court too. Unfased, the Lady Tigers came back with Kynslee Ward pulling up on a short jump shot and Kaylee Ward stealing Mountainburgs’s ensuing possession for a score. Kaylee Ward continued her onslaught on the Lady Dragons defense by blocking a Mountainburg shot and then taking the ball down the court for a bucket. Seven Sanderson followed suit by blocking a Mountainburg shot which led to a Natalie Allison three-point shot. When the tires stopped spinning in the opening quarter, Mansfield held a 14-2 lead over Mountainburg.
Although groundhog day was just a day before the game, no one tod Kynslee Ward as she started the second quarter the same way as she opened the game by sinking a three-pointer. Mountainburg struck back with a three-pointer of their own and then added some full-court pressure on defense. The pressure of the Lady Dragons defense seemed to work at first, but Mansfield adjusted well and continued to burn up the scoreboards. Rebounds and put-backs were the keys to the second quarter as Seven Sanderson, Skylynn Harris, and Kaylee Ward picked the ball off the boards with ease over the smaller Lady Dragons. Natalie Allison took a rebound down the full length of the court for a layup and was followed up with a Skylynn Harris three-point shot. To close the quarter, Kynslee Ward drove down for a miraculous mid-air “spinaroonie” layup. The Lady Tigers went into the half with both momentum and a 30-10 lead.
The main number in the phrase “third quarter” is three. Coincidently, both teams took that number to heart as the Lady Tigers and Lady Dragons opened up and let the three-point shots fall. Kaylee Ward snatched a rebound and dumped in a putback to kick things off then watched her sister, Kynslee Ward drain a three-pointer. The sister-sister act continued with a Kynslee Ward to Kaylee Ward bounce pass for a layup. Mountainburg slowed down Mansfield’s run with a three-pointer of their own, but the Layd Tigers didn’t swerve off their path and kept the petal to the metal. Seven Sanderson stepped in with a big hook shot then shortly after dished an assist to Kaylee Ward for another smooth layup. As with each quarter up to that point, it was Kynslee Ward who closed things out as she made a breakaway layup on the Lady Dragons and then hit a three-point shot to end the third quarter with Mansfield up 49-19 on Mountainburg.
With the game in hand, Mansfield sent in their defensive specialist group to end the show. Players such as Brooklyn Adams, Raine Hecox, Megan Emery, Kaylie Lowery, and Harlie Fuller stepped in and showed out as they held the Lady Dragons to merely five points in the entire quarter. Harlie Fuller showed more than her defensive skills as she added a three-point shot to the scoreboard sending the Lady Tigers to a 52-24 victory over Mountainburg. The win puts Mansfield with a 20-3 overall record and 8-1 in conference play. But the Lady Tigers aren’t done, not yet. After a week of snow, ice, and postponed games, Mansfield will play their makeup game against the Magazine Lady Rattlers on Saturday, February 4th. Back-to-back games aren’t easy for any program, but if that’s what the road to redemption brings, then that’s what the Lady Tigers will do.