Victoria East escaped with a close win against Corpus Christi Ray in its last game.

After Tuesday’s game against Corpus Christi Moody was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Moody, the Lady Titans were ready when they hosted Corpus Christi Carroll on Friday night.

A stuffing defensive effort at the start and another productive night from its senior leaders saw Victoria East blow out Carroll 62-28 to stay in second place in District 29-5A.

“Coming into tonight we had to pick up our energy and focus on what we were going to do in the game and come out strong,” said senior Brandalyn Rice.

Rice gave the Lady Titans (12-2, 7-1) the lead 10 seconds into the game, and East never trailed.

East pressured the Lady Tigers (3-13, 2-7) early, forcing turnovers with its man-to-man defense and converting those turnovers into points on the offensive end.

Senior Giani Wimbish-Gay and junior Hannah Tyler were in the Carroll players faces all night and overwhelmed them early.

“We did a lot of closing out. We did a lot of getting up in our man. We didn’t want to give them any cushion,” Tyler said. “Our main thing is playing man-to-man defense. That’s what we did tonight, and that’s what we did well.”

Wimbish-Gay led all scorers with 23 points, and Rice was second with 20. The two found each other all night to create scoring opportunities for the Lady Titans, as they have all season.

Wimbish-Gay scored 12 of her points in the first quarter alone and helped East lead 18-3 after the first quarter.

More of the same followed in the second as Wimbish-Gay continued to dish the ball to Rice inside, and Rice used her height advantage to score over the Carroll defenders.

East led 35-6 at halftime and only gave up two field goals in the entire first half.

“The key is consistency,” Rice said. “Keeping things intentional and keep doing the same thing over and over, keep working on the same stuff. As long as we’re in man, and we have the energy to do it, we can stop anybody.”

Carroll outscored East 14-13 in the third quarter as the pace slowed with Rice taking time to rest, but East continued to pad its lead.

In the fourth, East made some key shots, including a 3-pointer from Tyler, to go up by 30 points and seal the 62-28 victory.

“Coming into the game we definitely wanted to have a quicker mentality,” Tyler said. “That was the basis of our game plan. (The result) feels amazing. It shows improvement, and it shows how hard we’ve been practicing.”

East will travel to Flour Bluff on Tuesday as the Lady Titans remain in the district title hunt.

“We’ve just got to work hard in practice just like they’re any other team,” Rice said. “We can’t underestimate them. Just treat them as any other team and work hard.”

DISTRICT 29-5AVictoria East 62, Corpus Christi Carroll 28

Points: (E) Giani Wimbish-Gay 23, Brandalyn Rice 20, Hannah Tyler 9, Lamira Cleavland 6, Alayeh Bryant 2, Samantha Perez 2; (C) Gladys Martin 9, Andranique Carter 7, Jalissa Brantley 5, Genesis Barnhart 2, Ellanecia Gladd 2, Janaisha Kelley 1, Katlyn McCall 1, Charlotte Denardo 1

3-pointers: Wimbish-Gay, Tyler; Halftime: East 35-6; Records: East 12-2, 7-1; Carroll 3-13, 2-7

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