The Commerce High School Lady Tiger basketball team is going into the district season with a fair amount of momentum as they defeated Quitman 53-35 Tuesday night in the Lady Tigers’ final game before the beginning of district play.
After being down early, Commerce hit a three-pointer to go ahead 5-4 and never trailed for the rest of the game.
The Lady Tigers finished the first quarter on an 11-0 run to grab a 13-4 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
Both squads had issues getting their offense going in the second frame, but the Lady Tigers still held on to their advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had a small burst of buckets toward the end of the second quarter, but Commerce extended its lead to 24-10 at the half.
The Lady Tigers were almost outscored in the third quarter as Quitman held serve with their best offensive output up to that point. It was all for naught as Commerce slightly extended the lead out to 37-22. The Lady Tigers led by as many as 20 points before the Lady Bulldogs finished with a flurry of points in the final two minutes.
For the second game in a row it looked as if Commerce would have a close contest in the fourth quarter as Quitman went out to a cheeky 6-0 run to begin the quarter. But the Lady Tigers would not be denied as they shored up the defense and got plenty of points on the board. When all was said and done, Commerce cruised to the 53-35 victory.
The 53-point effort was the 50-plus game for the Lady Tigers so far this season, and the second-highest overall behind a 58-point outing against Boles on Nov. 26. The victory marked the third in a row for Commerce.
Three Lady Tigers finished in double figures during the game. Allie Wittkopf led the team with 17 points, helped out by her four successful three-point shots. Wittkopf also had a team-high seven rebounds. Camdyn Shaw scored 12 points and had five boards, while Mya Wilson had 11 points, seven assists and three steals.
Head Coach Tony Henry said the near-collapse on Tuesday against Bonham was a sore spot for the team, and they worked to ensure it didn’t happen again.
“They were not happy after the game against Bonham even though we won, because the game almost got away from us,” Henry said. “We really focused a lot in practice on finishing strong.”
Henry added that his team will need to “stay consistent” and play their brand of ball to do well in district.
The victory brings the Lady Tigers to a record of 10-7 this season. Now a huge challenge begins for Commerce with the beginning of district play. The Lady Tigers’ district has both of the previous two State Champions in Mt. Vernon and Chapel Hill, among a host of other strong teams. Commerce will square off against the Mt. Vernon Lady Tigers on Dec. 17 on the road. First tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.