TISHOMINGO — It's been a roller coaster offensive year for Tishomingo's girls, with the Indians sometimes struggling to come up with consistent scoring.
Friday was not one of those nights.
"I think we were just on tonight," Tishomingo senior guard Mariah Gunter said. "We just put our whole game together."
With Lone Grove allowing the Indians to shoot from deep, Tishomingo took advantage, hitting 12 3-pointers in a 68-36 win on Friday.
Gunter and Destiny Justus combined for 10 of those long-range shots, pushing Tish's lead so far ahead that the tandem was able to sit the entire fourth quarter.
Justus finished with a game-high 20 points, Gunter had 16 and Tishomingo (17-3, 5-1 Lake Country Conference), ranked seventh in Class 3A, won its eighth straight game.
"It's a stress reliever," Justus said of the offensive success. "When it's going in like that all the time, you feel energized."
Justus provided most of the energy for the Indians, draining six 3-pointers, including four in the third quarter to keep Tish's 20-point cushion intact. Gunter made three from distance in the second quarter to help Tishomingo lead 38-15 at the break.
Lone Grove coach Jeff Word said the plan was to lay back and let the Indians shoot from the perimeter. As a result, Gunter had 14 points by halftime. After the break she passed off to Justus, who continued the damage from deep.
Add that to Tishomingo's always swarming pressure defense, and the Indians put together one of their more complete games of the season.
"What we were obviously going to let them do was shoot the 3," Word said. "In between those shots were the lack of execution on our part offensively, and letting them get putbacks on those second and third opportunities off the 3-point shot. We have to one-and-done them off of 3s."
Alexis Row scored eight points, including two 3-pointers, and Chealsea Wilkinson and Kailee Thomas each had seven rebounds off the bench for Tishomingo. The Indians' bench rotated in early, finishing with 20 points as a collective.
Savannah Throneberry and Kaylyn Crockett each had nine points, and Jaci Christian added eight for Lone Grove (8-10, 2-4). Tishomingo was able to double up Lone Grove in rebounds, 38-19.
"Every aspect of the game helps, and when our post players can do the job, it's easier for us," Justus said. "Our defense is something we always have, but tonight, it just seemed like it was on top.
"I feel like we played great defense."
Word agreed, as Lone Grove struggled to form any offensive continuity against Tishomingo's full-court press. Tishomingo forced 14 turnovers in the first half.
"That's a Boyd Houser team," Word said of the defensive pressure. "They're always physical. They're gonna muscle you, make you put it on the floor and make you make a quick decision."
Page 2 of 2 - Tied 2-2 in the first quarter, Tish ripped off an 18-2 run to effectively lock up the game. In that stretch, Gunter, Justus and Row hit 3s on consecutive possessions to push the Indians' lead to 20-4.
Houser said that's about as good as his team has shot the ball all season. The Indians will need to continue their hot streak, as No. 1 Sulphur comes to town on Tuesday.
"We shot the ball really well, Mariah and Destiny especially," Houser said. "We just played well. We went to the offensive boards, we blocked out and rebounded, and just did the things you're supposed to do in basketball."
Erik K. Horne