The Lambert girls basketball team survived a tightly contested game against Region 6-7A foe West Forsyth, 59-55, marking the Longhorns' third straight win and sweeping the season series Tuesday at home.
The scoring started with Annarose Tyre's pass to Shelby Lawrence, and she drove toward the middle of the paint to lay the ball up effortlessly. Switching over to the defensive end, Tyre was being aggressive down low and that earned her a block.
As for the Wolverines, they didn’t start off hot, going 0-for-3. It was Zaria Smith’s steal that gave Callyn Glaze a chance to pass to Molly Quincy for a 3-pointer.
It was too long, and the Longhorns (19-6, 8-2) responded. Tyre pushed the pace and muscled her way to the paint.
On a fast break, the Wolverines (13-12, 5-5) had a 2-on-1 situation, and Lillian Seitz dished a behind-the-back pass to her teammate for a layup that amped up the visitors' bench.
The Wolverines offense started to get in sync in the second quarter by going on a 7-0 run, thanks to Smith's ability to run the offense.
She got a bounce pass from Seitz and drilled a 3-pointer with two Longhorns in her face. Then after the Wolverines made a stop by getting a block, Smith fed Seitz who settled for a mid-range shot instead of a 3-pointer.
Glaze was keeping the Wolverines offense alive after they missed two straight 3-pointers. It took the Wolverines five offensive rebounds to finally get the ball to go in, as they grew a 21-16 lead.
Coming off the bench, Anna Rodriguez found her stroke from behind the arc. After drilling a 3-pointer on the right side of the court, the ball came to her again, and she made another one from the opposite corner.
As the game progressed through the first half, multiple lead changes were observed throughout. The Wolverines' biggest lead was six, and the Longhorns' biggest lead was three. It was Lambert who went into halftime with a 27-26 lead.
In the second half, Seitz connected with Smith once again for another 3-pointer to open up the game.
Rodriguez was there when the Longhorns needed a 3-pointer, as she made her third. In an attempt to respond, Marlee Raymond attempted yet another 3-point shot, but she failed to make it.
Instead of taking another 3, Rodriguez opted to pass to a wide-open Mackenzie Weyer, who made the 3-pointer with ease to bump Lambert's lead to five.
Over the final 2:28 of the third quarter, both teams couldn’t score and went into the fourth tied at 38.
The Longhorns came out the gate on fire in the final period.
Tyre broke the tie within the opening seconds of the fourth, and then her pass down court to Weyer led to a foul and two made free throws. Shortly after, Tyre was the one to draw a foul on her way to the basket. Her chance at the charity stripe gave Lambert a 43-38 lead.
Lawrence’s defense on Quincy forced a Wolverines turnover. Then switching to offense, Tyre kept the play alive by forcing the ball back onto the court after it looked like it was going to be a Longhorn turnover. The ball found Lawrence, and she made the mid-range jumper with confidence.
Down late in the fourth quarter, Seitz tried to escape the Longhorns' full-court pressure after getting the inbounds pass. She spotted Quincy at the top of the key. Despite a defender in her grill, the senior proceeded to launch away from 3 to tie the game at 53-53.
Briley Elder got fouled while trying to attack the basket. The Longhorns’ all-time leading scorer made her free throws to break the tie once again with 23.5 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Wolverines had one last chance to tie the game but committed a costly turnover. The Wolverines had no options but to foul with time not being on their side. although they fouled Elder who was already 100% from the line.
Seitz raced to the rim for an acrobatic layup to cut Lambert’s lead to 57-55 with 6.6 seconds left. However, Lawrence’s free throws were the dagger, and the Longhorns finished the regular season with a 9-2 record at home.
Lambert will be the No. 2 seed for the region tournament and could face West Forsyth in the semifinals — if the third-seeded Wolverines get past sixth seed Forsyth Central Feb. 11 at West Forsyth.