ALTAMONT — Labette County bent but never broke on Friday night.
The Grizzlies, looking to get over .500 in SEK League play, beat the Pittsburg Purple Dragons 34-24 on Friday night in Altamont.
Labette County built up an early 9-2 through the first quarter lead thanks to transition opportunities off steals. But Pittsburg, paced by 12 points from Ela Hendrickson, clawed its way back in the second half. At one point, the Purple Dragons trailed by just one point but were never able to tie the game.
“We came out ready from the get-go,” Labette County head coach Kristi Snider said. “We got some steals and went up early. But we let the Hendrickson girl get loose in the second and third quarter. We turned the ball away too many times. But we held them down the stretch on defense.”
Elsie Sorrell led Labette County with nine points, while Madison Brannin added eight. All eight of Brannin’s points came on an 8-of-8 free throw performance in the fourth quarter.
“It was very crucial,” Snider said. “We never got behind. But we need to have games like this. It’ll make us better down the road.”
After the game, Snider felt her offense was still finding its identity.
“We’ll get there,” Snider said. “We’ll be OK. We’re still playing with a lot of young kids that are coming together and learning their roles.”
Part of Labette County’s struggles offensively, according to Snider, stem from new plays and actions being installed.
“We weren’t as fluid as we should’ve been tonight,” Snider said. “We’ve put some new things in on offense. So it’s a timing thing. Our girls are still learning their roles with all the different lineups we have.”
Nevertheless, not many teams will lose when surrendering 24 points on the night. The win improved Labette County’s record to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in SEK League play, while Pittsburg dropped to 4-3 and 2-2 respectively.
The Grizzlies, after a seven-game road stretch, play Coffeyville at home on Tuesday as part of a three-game homestand.
“We’ve got to do what we do,” Snider said. “We just have to fix the things we have to fix to be more efficient.”
Labette County 34, Pittsburg 24
Labette County: 9 9 3 13 — 34
Pittsburg: 2 7 11 4 — 24
Labette County: Karsyn Stewart 2, Mackayla Forbes 2, Abby Ryan 4, Anna Dean 4, Sydnie Stice 5, Madison Brannin 8, Elsie Sorrell 9
Pittsburg: AJ Fornelli 3, Faith McGown 2, Kadyn Matlock 2, Jaya Minniefield 2, Sophia Pinamonti 3, Ela Hendrickson 12