Toppers, Wolves split

The Hilltoppers controlled their game against East Webster Feb. 3 from the tip-off to the final score, but the Wolverines didn’t go quietly, battling and staying in the mix.
Houston’s Caleb Morgan got the tip to J.J. Brownlee for a deuce and a Houston steal produced another bucket from Jay Jay Jones. Morgan put back a rebound to establish a quick Houston lead, but East Webster’s Samuel Butler sank a trey to get the Wolverines on the board.
Treys kept the Wolverines in contention with Derek Jones and Jack Wilson hitting and Butler contributing two as the first quarter ended with the Hilltoppers ups 15-11.
Brownlee started off the second quarter with a deuce and Butler hit another trey, then stole and drew a foul for two and sank another three-pointer to put the Wolverines within one, but the Toppers took over going on an 8-point run, coming off a Jones steal and dish to Javan Farr. Jones put up the final layin of the half, giving the Toppers a 9-point lead at the break on their way to a 61-47 win.
“I believe the guys are buying into our concept of team play,” said coach Orlando Randle.
Randle and the coaching staff are looking for a united front moving into division play after Christmas break.
“They are a good group with great attitudes,” Randle said. “I expect them to get better and better as the season continues.”

Lady Toppers fall to Lady Wolves
The Lady Toppers and Lady Wolverines game was a back-and-forth battle with the Lady Toppers leading 13-9 to open the second quarter and the Lady Wolverines coming back to take a 16-13 lead off three free throws by Quantesha Patterson and a bucket by Lynesha McCurry.
Houston’s Davianna Pulliam sank a deuce and Candace Woodhouse hit from the line to tie it at 20-all.
McCurry hit one from the line, but Houston’s Ashley Conner got possession and dished to Woodhouse in the post for a bucket. Patterson tied it from the line at 22-all going into the break.
The Lady Wolverines gelled together in the fourth quarter, coming off another tie, with Kentrina McCurry’s bucket and Patterson’s dish to her for another.
“You could almost hear it click,” said EW coach Todd Hutchinson. “We got some traps and steals and made some buckets. They were hustling.”
Mamie Hollenhead hit a trey to put the Lady Wolves ahead 41-37 and sparked a run that advanced the EW girls by ten. Houston’s Lashari Free got a big block on Lynesha Mcurry and Pulliam intercepted an East Webster pass, but the Lady Toppers couldn’t get their shots to connect and fell 40-49.
“Our girls did not execute our half-court offense at all during the game,” said Houston coach Vernessa Gates. “We missed a great deal of wide-open shots under the basket during the fourth quarter that were key.”

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