Lambert overcame a rough and tumbling start to defeat East Hall 45-36 on Friday night, improving to 4-0 on the young season.
Summer Edwards and Jaleah Greene each scored 12 points to lead the way, but before the Lady Longhorns could begin scoring they had to get out of their own way. Eight of the team's 15 fouls on the evening came in the first quarter – five of them were charges. Lambert looked anxious to get to the hole early on, but settled down according to head coach Jaime Fisher.
"Too many charges," Fisher said. "I'm proud of our girls for fighting back, cleaning things up. That was a good team we just played."
East Hall relied heavily on shots from behind the arc. Carly Winters hit five 3-pointers for the Lady Vikings while Kylan Mize added two more. Lambert trailed 22-18 at halftime but outscored East Hall 17-8 in the third quarter.
Edwards, in her first season as a starting point guard in the wake of Ashley Johnson’s graduation, showed command all evening with five field goals, three steals and two assists.
Greene bounced back to score 10 of her 12 after entering foul trouble and missing minutes in the second quarter after hard contact caused a laceration on her forehead. She showed off some strong post moves in the process.
Still, arguably the unsung hero of the game was junior Katie Schwind, who led in rebounds with seven and added three assists and three steals.
"Katie just doesn't know any gear but go," Fisher said. "She's the motor."
Sidney Chason crashed the boards as well, hauling in six. Edwards also provided a highlight at the end of the third, hitting a running buzzer-beater from deep to give Lambert a 35-30 lead.
Lambert boys 83, East Hall 55
The new-look Longhorns (3-1) used intense ball pressure to jump all over the Vikings and seemingly close out the game at halftime.
Andrew Melms scored 24 points, 22 in the first half, while Matt Ganote added 13. The Longhorns took a 15-2 lead that grew into a 31-7 advantage before the first quarter ended.
Lambert was able to do something familiar under head coach Scott Bracco – clearing the bench in the second half. The Longhorns used 16 players and even worked with East Hall late in the game when Vikings coach Joseph Dix asked Bracco to keep the tempo going late so his younger players could get experience against the press. Bracco even called a timeout late in the game at Dix's request. Needless to say, it was a friendly affair.
Lambert still looks like a contender despite losing stars from last year's team. Matured versions of guards Jordan McIlwain and Damon Stoudamire Jr. (the son of a former NBA player) add length and speed to the court. The new brand from Lambert? Running and a lot of it.
"We put a lot of hard work into the conditioning side of what we do," Bracco said. "I'm proud of our guys for playing hard and unselfish tonight."
McIlwain added eight points, eight rebounds and three assists while Austin Deckard scored 10 points off the bench.