LONE GROVE — Tierani Richardson put on a shooting display as part of a monster first quarter for the Sulphur Bulldogs, who traveled to Lone Grove and swiftly dispatched of a short-handed Longhorns squad in a 73-45 rout on Tuesday.
It took roughly 8 minutes to establish that no upset would happen on this night as Sulphur (17-0) scored 37 points in the first frame, 18 of which came from a sharp-shooting Richardson. The senior finished with 21 points on the night, all of which came in the first half.
"The first quarter was very impressive," Sulphur coach Toby Todd said. "I think that's the most points we've had in a quarter since I've been here."
Had Todd wished, the top-ranked Bulldogs could have made the night much worse for the Longhorns (8-9). However, he took the high road early, subbing in his second team players with just under 2:30 left in the first half.
"That was a classy gesture, but that's how Toby is," Lone Grove coach Jeff Word said. "He's about as good of a person as you'll ever meet ... just epitomizes character."
Todd served as an assistant for Word during his time at Dickson, before taking the job at Sulphur.
Lone Grove, meanwhile, continues to fight through injury. With starters Haley McCutchen and Madison Jones already out with ankle sprains, Savannah Throneberry had another scary moment herself, falling awkwardly and clutching her ankle midway through the third quarter.
"She'll be fine," Word said. "But we've just been bitten by the bug lately."
If somebody is going to stop the Bulldogs, it's becoming less and less likely that team will be from the Lake Country Conference. Sulphur has romped through its conference slate, winning LCC games by an average of 33 points and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
"You may be lucky in your lifetime to have one team like that," Word said. "But they're also extremely well-coached, and Toby deserves the credit for that."
The risk of injury was part of why Todd felt it so important to bring in his bench, though he also wanted the chance for his younger players to get experience in game situations.
"The important thing for us right now is staying healthy," Todd said. "But those other girls deserve a lot of credit for our success because of how hard they work in practice, and they deserve every opportunity they can to get experience against varsity teams."
Ashley Hughes also had a fast start, recording 10 first-quarter points and 15 for the game, while Harlee Griffis and Katie Lancaster paced the Sulphur reserves with seven points apiece.
Hannah Howard led Lone Grove with 11 points.