After a sluggish first quarter, Lambert's boys finally came alive.
The Longhorns trailed by four at the end of the first quarter, but rattled off 23 points in the second period to take a 10-point lead at the half and never looked back, as they defeated West Forsyth 57-45 on Tuesday at The Horn.
"I think West came out with a lot of energy and made some shots," Lambert head coach Scott Bracco said. "We just had to get in the flow of the game, and we did in the second quarter. Our defense was working for us and we turned them over a few times that led into easy baskets for us.
"I think you’re always pleased when you get a victory. I’m not happy with our defense in the fourth quarter, but the guys played hard and played great defense in the second and third quarter tonight."
Lambert’s Logan Bush led the team with 15 points and teammate T.J. Russell added 10. West had three players finish in double figures with
Jimmy Staiti (17), Nick Staiti (10) and John Conway (10) combining for 37 points.
Longhorn opponents had averaged 58 points entering the game, but the defense stepped up didn’t allow the West offense many opportunities.
"Whenever we pick it up on defense, we score a lot," Russell said. "That’s what we have to do. Our coaches told us [to pressure the ball], so that’s what we did.
"I feel like we’re getting better slowly but surely. We need to practice hard and get ready for the region tournament and go out there and perform."
West led 18-14 two minutes into the second quarter, but the Longhorns used a 19-5 run to take a 33-23 lead into halftime.
The Wolverines (0-7 Region 6B-AAAAAA) lost the scoring battle again in the third quarter, as Lambert outscored them 16-9 to take a 17-point lead into the final period.
Lambert (11-7, 6-3) held a 49-32 advantage with 5:48 remaining in the game, but West fought back to bring the score within 11 with under two minutes left; however, the rally fell short and left West winless in region play.
"I think we have a reoccurring theme," West head coach Jim Cook said. "We think it’s a 25 minute ballgame when it’s 32 minutes. It seems like we go through about a five minute stretch where we don’t play very well. It enables teams to put up a 10,11,12-point lead and then we’re playing from behind the rest of the way, so it’s our challenge to make sure we play 32 minutes."
Lambert (girls) 43, West Forsyth 30
It seemed like Lambert couldn’t miss from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Lady Longhorns were 6-of-9 from 3-point range in the first two quarters and earned a 43-30 Region 6B-AAAAAA victory over West Forsyth on Tuesday at The Horn.
"We hit some shots tonight," Lambert head coach Seth Thompson said. "… I’d rather have layups than 3s, but the kids were hitting them and feeling it tonight.
"But, we still didn’t play our best; we should’ve [played] better than that. I’m not happy with the way we played. …We still have to get better. We still have so much more room for improvement, and I’m excited about that."
Morgan Jackson led all scorers with 15 points, while teammate Corrie Baker chipped in with nine points, all 3s. West’s Jenna Staiti, who was sidelined with an ankle injury on Friday, led the team with 11.
Lambert (8-10, 3-6) started the game strong with a 16-6 lead to end the first quarter and continued the dominance by holding West (6-13, 1-8) to only seven points in the second quarter to take a 29-13 advantage into halftime.
"It was huge for our confidence to have that [large of a lead at halftime]," Jackson said. "…We’re all really good friends and we get along really well, so I think that’s why we’re finally hitting it and clicking and playing good."
Peyton Card and Ellie Hammer knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter for Lambert to make the score 38-17 with a little over two minutes left and forced West to call a timeout.
The Lady Longhorns ended the third period ahead 40-21, but couldn’t muster a point for over five minutes until Jackson sunk two free throws. West never closed the gap to within single digits and fell 43-30.
The Lady Wolverines came into the game averaging 42.7 points on offense, but shot only 28 percent from the field.
"We have to come out and play [better]," West head coach David May said. "The game’s over and we decide we want to play a few possessions and then go in [the locker room] and feel good about ourselves, and that’s not how it’s got to be.
"…We gave up 29 points in the first half to a team that’s had a hard time scoring on the season because we don’t want to guard anybody. I know we played harder in the second half, but the game was over by that time when you’re down 20 points. We have to do a better job of getting ready to play."