ANACOCO – Anacoco used its defense to force turnovers and got out to a big lead early against Pitkin.

The Lady Tigers got back into the contest in the second half, but the deficit was too much as the Lady Indians picked up the 65-44 victory Tuesday night at Anacoco High School.

"It wasn't pretty, but I'm thankful for it," Anacoco head coach Tim Parker said. "An ugly win is better than a beautiful loss. They made some great adjustments from the first game."

Despite trailing by double digits for a majority of the game, Pitkin would not go away. The Lady Tigers came out of the locker room at halftime with a different mindset.

"I told them that they can do one of two things – they can continue playing the way they were in the first half or you can pick it up " Pitkin head coach Dana Wisby said. "They were so concentrated on their 1-2-2 press that they weren't looking to score. I tell them to play good defense, and the offense will come. Their defense picked up, which caused our offense to come." 

Emily MacDonald set the pace for Anacoco early, hitting perimeter shots and scoring the first 11 points of the game.

"I tell the kids that if they leave you open, you have to make them respect you," Parker said. "Emily has been shooting well at practice and tonight, it showed. I think getting her confidence up is going to be a big plus for us, especially heading into the playoffs."

The Lady Indians outscored Pitkin 14-5 in the second half to lead 30-11 at the break.

"We would like to play uptempo because that's how we practice," Parker said. "In the second quarter, we got out of the press, but we got back into it and needed to speed it up."

The Lady Tigers cut the lead to 14 midway through the fourth but could never make a big move to threaten the Lady Indians.

"Most people tell me that when we get down 10 points, we're finished," Wisby said. "Tonight, they didn't die on me. They didn't give up. I couldn't ask for more. We got beat by 10 points in the second half. We were so far in the hole in the second half, we couldn't get out."

MacDonald led Anacoco (24-14, 5-2) with 17 points, and freshman forward Paige Mayo added 15. 

Mayo is one of many underclassmen that have stepped into bigger roles as the season has progressed.

"They have been pushed into the position they are in," Parker said. "Losing Reagan (Stanley) and Payton (Miller), it made them grow up really quick. We just lay out the expectations and put them in drills to make them successful. They are responding well."

Cally Hooks scored 12 in her Senior Night performance. Hooks is one of two seniors on the Lady Indians, along with Payton Miller, who has missed a majority of the season with an injury.

"They've been outstanding," Parker said. "Cally has been pushed into her role of being in the point, and she has been able to dissect defenses and can really see people. We had Payton up until the Hicks Tournament. I would have liked to see what could have been with her and Reagan on the floor. It didn't work out that way. We love her, and she's a big part of what we are. They are going to be missed."

Kylee Croak led all scorers with 20, and Morgan McAlister added 10.

"Kylee has the potential to get 40 a game," Wisby said. "She has been hesitant with herself. I told her she needs to have confidence in herself and it will come. Tonight, she took it at them."