SULPHUR — Ashley Hughes scored 32 points, 26 in the first half, as the top-ranked Sulphur Bulldogs shut down Plainview in a 73-34 rout in Sulphur on Tuesday night.
"This was a big game for both of us," Sulphur head coach Toby Todd said. "I was just proud of the girls and how they came out and executed."
The Bulldogs (13-0) actually trailed ever so briefly, when Plainview's Hayden Hunt knocked down two early free throws to take a 2-0 lead, but Tierani Richardson's ensuing 3-pointer for Sulphur quickly erased the deficit.
That was as close as Plainview (12-3) would get the rest of the way. Richardson and the Bulldogs were deadly from the outside, knocking down five first-quarter 3s, and suffocating on defense in jumping out to a 24-4 lead at the end of the first quarter that effectively ended the game.
Richardson was almost as potent as Hughes in the first half offensively, knocking down three 3-pointers and tallying 11 of her 18 points by halftime, when Sulphur headed to the locker room with a virtually unreachable 42-16 lead.
"(Richardson) has shot really well for the last three games," Todd said. "It was more of the same tonight."
Little changed to affect the Bulldogs focus after intermission, as Sulphur came out of the second half gates on a 10-0 run that Todd felt was a demonstration of the team's determination and maturity from a year ago.
"Last year, to be honest, that was a bad habit sometimes," Todd said. "We've harped on that, and gotten great leadership from everybody, to approach each half as two separate games."
Sulphur's defense was stout, especially on the interior where Ebony Harrison bottled up Plainview post threat Rebecca Wright.
"She deserves a ton of credit for how she played on defense," Todd said. "She brings it every night, a ton of intensity, and it showed tonight."
Hughes was equally effective stopping the Indians' Megan Shelton on the perimeter, holding the talented freshman scoreless for over a quarter and never letting her get into an offensive rhythm.
"That's an outstanding point guard, one of the best, if not the best, freshman in this area," Todd said. "And I felt like Ashley did a great job defensively on her."
Hughes exited the game early in the fourth quarter, but not before putting on a final six-point flurry to exit to raucous cheers from the home crowd.
It was the capper on a remarkable night for Hughes, who displayed every bit of the talent, savvy and leadership that has helped propel her team to the top of the 3A rankings.
"I would say this was her best game of the year," Todd said.
Darsha Reagle also had a strong and balanced night for the Bulldogs, scoring 12 points while adding eight rebounds and four assists.
For Plainview coach Andy Bloodworth, the task now turns to using this contest, against a group that is possibly the cream of the crop in 3A this season, as a learning experience for the future.
"We knew coming in this was the best team in the state," Bloodworth said. "Their gameplan was to push us and make us uncomfortable, and that's exactly what they did."
Shelton and Hunt finished with 10 points apiece to lead Plainview.
Sulphur wins double OT thriller
SULPHUR — Haydn Rogers scored 17 points to lead the Bulldogs to a thrilling home win over Plainview in double overtime.
Sulphur (10-3) trailed by three points with just five seconds left in the game before Ryan Beauchamp knocked down a trey to send the game to its first overtime.
With the score knotted at 30 apiece at the end of the first extra period, the Bulldogs put together its strongest offensive output of the night in double overtime, knocking down 12 points to pull away.
“Defense won us this game,” Sulphur head coach Chase Todd said. “It was just a great effort by all of our guys, a real team effort.”
The defense deserves the most credit for shutting down Plainview’s previously unstoppable Deric Shelton, who was held to eight points, his lowest output of the season.
Plainview (13-2) scored just two points in the first quarter and never got into an offensive rhythm against Sulphur’s zone defense.