By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
Eve Loewe scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Highland Park to a 70-41 win over North Mesquite on Friday in the 10-6A District opener for both teams.
Behind a trapping defense, the Lady Scots (6-5, 1-0) jumped out to an early lead that they extended to double digits at the start of the second quarter.
“We had a tough loss to Lincoln in our last game,” said HP head coach Nicole Villarreal. “Coming off that defeat, we knew we had to work harder on defense, so that was our focus.”
The extra work paid off, as the Lady Scots’ press created problems all night for the visiting Lady Stallions. HP held an 18-point halftime lead.
“We played very sound basketball tonight, and that allowed all of our players to get lots of minutes,” said Villarreal. “I thought our energy was high and our ball movement exceptional.”
North Mesquite (2-9, 0-1) tried to reduce the big deficit in the second quarter with a half-court press of its own, but HP handled it with precision.
“We talk about passing as a team all the time,” said Villarreal. “Get the ball to the middle with crisp passes and keep moving until the open shot.”
Morgan Smith handled the trap well and was efficient running the offense for the Lady Scots, while Emma Hill added a big defensive spark coming off the bench. Smith had four points and eight assists, and Hill had several key steals.
“They both played at a high level,” Villarreal said. “Morgan did a very good job running the offense tonight. She’s our floor general. And Emma’s intensity off the bench always picks us up.”
Nine different players scored for HP, as Villarreal was able to substitute freely in the second half. The Lady Scots ended the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 55-32 lead.
Caroline Van Kirk scored 13 points, while Mary Margaret Roberts and Hill put in nine and seven points, respectively.
Travesha Williams, one of the leading scores in the area, put up 25 points to lead North Mesquite.
“She was shooting lights-out,” said Villarreal. “Even with a hand in her face, it was hard to stop her.”