TISHOMINGO — Sulphur coach Toby Todd was clearly agitated.
He had just called a first-half timeout, with his top-ranked squad trailing early to No. 7 Tishomingo on the road.
And while the crowd may not have heard his words, his team certainly did.
Tierani Richardson led Sulphur with 19 points, as the Bulldogs rallied, took an eight-point lead into halftime and promptly overwhelmed the Indians after intermission in a 60-29 win on Monday night.
"I think we may have gotten a little rattled early," Todd said of the boisterous atmosphere in the Tishomingo gym. "They hit a few 3s and we started to struggle with our defensive assignments, but we managed to make adjustments."
Did they ever. Sulphur (20-0) surrendered just eight points in the second half, largely on the strength of an outstanding interior game. Ebony Harrison, Bailee Eldred and the rest of the Bulldogs' post players absolutely locked down the inside, leaving Tishomingo's guards — minus Mariah Gunter who left with an injury — to try to make up the difference with 3-pointers.
"I thought they played good defense all night," Tishomingo coach Boyd Houser said. "That's why they're ranked No. 1."
Tishomingo (17-4) failed to record a single free-throw attempt in the contest.
"I'm not sure I've ever had a team that didn't go to the free-throw line," Houser said. "But we didn't deserve to go up there."
With the team struggling early, Ashley Hughes was the majority of the Sulphur offense in the first half, scoring 15 of the team's 29 first-half points until the Bulldogs could get back into rhythm.
"They got some breaks early, we made some mistakes and had some breakdowns in transitions," Hughes said. "We just refocused in the locker room, locked down on defense and went out with a better feel for their sets."
Hughes also had a strong defensive night on the boards, earning second chance after second chance through sheer will and effort.
It was a trend on the night that hurt Tishomingo, who struggled to make any headway on the glass.
"They aren't big, they're just athletic and we did not do a good job of keeping them off the boards defensively or attacking the boards offensively," Houser said. "We did an absolutely horrible job rebounding the ball tonight."
Gunter led Tishomingo with six points.