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RUSH SPRINGS —
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so Velma-Alma junior Aria Johnson made the most of her opportunity.
Playing in her first game as a member of the Lady Comets, Johnson scored 13 points to go with six rebounds as V-A knocked off Central High 51-29 in the third place game at the Black Diamond Tournament.
“It feels good being back on the court and in a new conference,” Johnson said about playing her first game. “At first I was a little nervous and my shot was off, but I got over that pretty quickly. I just wanted to have a good game for my team and help them anyway I could.”
After going into halftime with a 28-18 advantage, V-A took over in the second half with points in the paint as well as tough defense.
A quick 4-0 run to start the third quarter helped the cause as the Lady Bronchos found themselves down 32-18 at the 6:32 mark, before seeing the deficit increased to 37-22 just four minutes later.
V-A held a 44-24 lead going into the fourth quarter, before closing the game out.
“We started off slow and had to adjust our defense,” V-A coach Jerry Garrett said. “I thought we played well though. I was proud of how we came back after a tough game with Rush Springs. Aria brings a lot of things to this team that we can do differently. She deserved this game and had waited a long time to be able to play.”
Central High’s biggest lead of the game came in the first quarter at 12-7, before V-A closed the quarter on a 5-0 run and tied the game heading into the second quarter at 12-12.
Foul trouble came back to bite CHHS in the second half though, as Lora-Lynn Loomis and Faith Harris both fouled out of the contest.
“Velma is a good team and played well out there,” Central coach Chad Weldon said. “Overall we didn’t shoot very well today. Not having our point guard out there also hurt us as well. Faith played well but she has got to be averaging 14 points a game and finish her shots out there.”
Harris did finish with a team high 14 rebounds for the Lady Bronchos (9-4) to go with six points.
Lacie Phillips led the Lady Bronchos with 12 points in the contest, followed by Chelsea Nunley with six points. Lora-Lynn Loomis, Aleia Daniels, and Briann Dougherty each scored two points.
Velma-Alma (8-4) was led by Kylee Saville with 20 points with Teddi Southerland scoring nine points.
Shalyn Files scored four points, while Bita Humphreys scored three points.
“When the outside shots aren’t going in, then you have to get to the rim,” Garrett said. “We’ve talked about just getting to the basket. Getting to the rim and being agressive helped us get to the free throw line a lot in the game.”
V-A finished 7-of-15 from the free throw line, while Central High went 6-of-15 for the contest.
Central High will be in action Tuesday night at Verden, while V-A will be on the road as well against Walters. Both games are scheduled to tip at 6:30 p.m.
“We’ve got to use these games next week to improve,” Weldon said. “We’ll use these to get us ready for the Stephens County Tournament and hopefully we can win some games there.”