Freshman leads East's District 27-5A win over Calhoun

Marcus Gutierrez By Marcus Gutierrez

Jan. 10, 2017 at 11:30 p.m.
Updated Jan. 11, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Victoria East's Leilani Wimbish-Gay, left, and Andrea Jackson, defend against Calhoun's Abby Hroch during Tuesday's District 27-5A game at the East gym.

Victoria East's Leilani Wimbish-Gay, left, and Andrea Jackson, defend against Calhoun's Abby Hroch during Tuesday's District 27-5A game at the East gym.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

Victoria East's Leilani Wimbish-Gay wasn't happy with her last two performances against District 27-5A opponents Victoria West and Angleton.

But Wimbish-Gay was determined to have a great game against district foe Calhoun.

Wimbish-Gay scored a game-high 17 points as the Lady Titans held off the Sandies 38-33 for their third district win of the season at the East gym on Tuesday.

"I still get nervous at the beginning of games since this is my first year on varsity, but I really wanted to get out there and play," said the 5-foot-8 freshman forward. "I didn't play to the best of my ability the last two games and I knew we needed to get this win."

East (11-12, 3-2) led Calhoun 14-8 after the first quarter and turned to Wimbish-Gay in the second.

Wimbish-Gay scored seven of East's 13 points in the second.

She had back-to-back steals and went coast-to-coast for layups to give the Lady Titans a 24-12 lead midway through the second.

Wimbish-Gay sank a free throw with 15 seconds left in the second and the Lady Titans went into the locker room with a 27-16 lead.

"We needed to execute the offense and move the ball better," said East head coach Yulonda Wimbish-North. "We were able to get a lead at halftime, but Calhoun fought back in the second half."

Calhoun (17-12, 2-3) came running out the gates in the third.

The Sandies' got out to a 5-1 run after a 3-pointer and a layup by senior point guard Lexi Alvarado (five points) to cut the Lady Titans' lead to eight.

"These girls haven't given up all year and continue to fight," said Calhoun head coach Kent Smith. "Most teams would have given up, but not these girls. We had our chances, but we just couldn't make the plays down the stretch to get the win."

Wimbish-Gay drove the lane from the top of the key for a layup and was fouled on the play. Wimbish-Gay missed the free throw, but East went ahead 31-21 midway through the third quarter.

"Coach just told us in the huddle to keep pushing harder and harder," Wimbish-Gay said. "We had to keep hustling on defense and make points off their turnovers."

Senior Andrea Jackson scored the next five points for East and the Lady Titans owned a 36-25 lead into the fourth.

"It was scary because we were going back and forth with them," Jackson said. "Our defense was lacking late, and we really just had to lock down in order to get this win."

Calhoun outscored East 8-2 in the final quarter.

Senior forward Abby Hroch (11 points) made four straight free throws which cut the deficit to six.

Wimbish-Gay put the Lady Titans' up by seven after making 1 of 2 free throws.

On the next offense possession, Calhoun's Genesis Villarreal (11 points) hit a mid-range jumper to cut East's lead to four, but Deja Barefield hit 1 of 2 free throws to seal the win for the Lady Titans.

"The girls could have folded when Calhoun came back, but they didn't," Wimbish North said. "It's good to see us get a win like this and it will give us confidence going forward."

Calhoun shot 14 of 24 from the free-throw line.

"If we were to make our free throws, it could have been a different game," Smith said. "You have to make your free throws when it comes to games like this."

Calhoun will host Angleton Friday at 6:30 p.m.

"East has some strong players, and we will learn from this game," Smith said. "We're going to get back to practice and we will get ready for Angleton Friday."

East will travel to Rosenberg to play Terry on Friday.

"We always talk about protecting our house," Wimbish-North said. "We did that tonight, but now we have to go on the road and get a win."

Victoria East 38, Calhoun 33

Points - (Victoria East) Susie Hernandez 3, Deja Barefield 1, Imani Wimbish-Gay 4, Leilani Wimbish-Gay 17, Kanesha Morris 2, Chantayvia Dembo 2, Andrea Jackson 7, Ka'Shae Griffin 2. (Calhoun) Stephanie Delgado 6, Genesis Villarreal 11, Lexi Alvarado 5, Abby Hroch 10, Madison Escobar 1.

Halftime - Victoria East 27, Calhoun 16. 3-pointers - Hernandez 1, Villarreal 2, Alvarado 1.

Records - Victoria East (11-12, 3-2 District 27-5A); Calhoun (17-12, 2-3)



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