BELTON-Blake Arbogast has seen his East Texas Baptist team mature greatly over the course of this season. Earlier in the year, his squad may not have pulled out a win in a knock-down, drag-out road duel. The experience level was not necessarily there. But with just four weeks left in the regular season, the Tigers played with poise on Thursday night, taking down No. 22 UMHB in a back-and-forth battle, 67-61.
“Their post player almost went on a 9-0 run herself in that second quarter,” Arbogast said postgame. “Earlier in the season, I think our girls may have gotten caught up in that run and not been able to get out of it. So responding the way they did in the second half was great.
“Ultimately, I think that’s what got us the win in a close game down the stretch.”
It was the first game UMHB played under interim head coach Kendra Foreman. The loss drops the Crusaders to 13-5 overall, and 8-3 in ASC play. ETBU is now tied with UMHB for second place in the league standings, at 8-3, and has a 14-5 overall mark.
How it happened
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers made their move, outscoring UMHB, 20-10. The Crusaders were held scoreless for the first five minutes of the final quarter, a credit to the ETBU defense, whose zone defense challenged UMHB offensively. The Cru shot just 21.1 percent in the final 10 minutes; in the three quarters prior, UMHB had connected on at least 33 percent of attempts.
“We forced them into some contested jumpers,” Arbogast said. “And we knew we had to win the rebound battle with the way [UMHB] rebounds. We did that today, and dominated on the boards.”
ETBU did just that, out-rebounding the Cru 55-31, which in part led to 17 second-chance points. UMHB had just one second-chance point of its own.
McCall Hampton put UMHB on the board with 4:27 left, completing a three-point play, as she was fouled while making a layup, and followed with a free throw, cutting ETBU’s lead to a single point, 55-54. By the 1:43 mark, it was a one-point once again, as Arieona Rosborough’s jump-shot swished through the net for the Cru.
But Jade Goynes countered for ETBU, completing a three-point play of her own, just as Hampton had three minutes before. Her free throw extended the Tiger lead to 62-58, and Goynes ended up converting on three-of-four free throws after that one, in the game’s final minute.
Jaycie Brisco connected on a three-pointer for UMHB with 17.3 seconds remaining, cutting the deficit to four, but Kenidi White’s two free throws on the other end for ETBU sealed the six-point victory for the visitors from Marshall.
A 13-2 run for ETBU in the opening minutes of the third quarter gave the Tigers momentum coming out of the locker room in the second half. Momentum that Arbogast said was key down the stretch.
That run was also key as it put ETBU back in front for the first time since the first quarter, as UMHB caught fire offensively in the second quarter. The Crusaders torched the net, connecting on 10-of-16 shots with all nine of Weade Adeleke’s first half points and all eight of Kenna Gibson’s coming in the second.
Adeleke scored nine of UMHB’s first 11 points as the Cru took a 24-18 lead that soon became 35-23 on Gibson’s first three-pointer of the game.
Ultimately, ETBU’s halftime adjustments and defensive effort prevailed in UMHB’s eighth game of the year decided by single digits.
“The game was full of runs from both sides,” Arbogast said. “I’m really proud of our team and it was just great to watch our girls compete. Hopefully we can build on this.”
UMHB stat leaders
Points: Arieona Rosborough (12), Weade Adeleke (11), Kenna Gibson (8)
Rebounds: Arieona Rosborough (6), Addy Self (6), Ashley Faux (4), Jaycie Brisco (4)
Assists: Lauren Baker (4), Arieona Rosborough (4)
UMHB faces LeTourneau in a home matchup in Belton on Saturday, with a 1 p.m. tip-off from the Mayborn Center.
Editor’s Note: UMHB interim head coach Kendra Foreman was not available for comment postgame.