Rawls returns as Lady Bobcats rally past Anahuac
Last updated 1/16/2023 at 11:35am
The Orangefield Lady Bobcats welcomed the return of Harleigh Rawls to the lineup on Friday, January 13, for their game with the Anahuac Lady Panthers. Rawls injured her right forearm during the Bill Tennison Tournament the last week of December, and she missed the next three district games to start the New Year.
The Lady Bobcats split the first two games without Rawls beating Hardin and then losing a tough one to Warren. A second straight loss 32-16 was suffered to East Chambers on Tuesday, January 10. Orangefield's Greenlea Oldham was the lone bright spot for the Lady Bobcats with a double-double tallying 12 points with her 11 rebounds.
Orangefield began its game with Anahuac like it might be three losses in a row as the Lady Panthers jumped ahead 5-0 and increased their lead to 8-2 on a three point basket. After that is when Harleigh Rawls made her presence felt.
Rawls converted a three point play and then made a layup to keep the Lady Bobcats within shouting distance of Anahuac at 12-7. Greenlea Oldham made the last basket of the first quarter to tie the game 13-13 for Orangefield.
Neither team could hardly buy a basket in the second quarter. Kaylea Gravett sank a short shot for the Lady Bobcats first points of the period to make the score 15-15 with 3:40 left before the half.
Anahuac had a three pointer nullified when a referee said the Lady Panther took the shot after she traveled. Charlee Sanches made one of two free throw attempts in the final minute of the first half to pull the Lady Bobcats to within one 17-16 as the ladies went to the locker room.
Sanches made a field goal, and Rawls sank a free throw to even the contest 19-19 at 5:15 of the third quarter. Gravett made the final points of the period and Orangefield trailed by one point 23-22 going to the fourth quarter.
Steeyle Franklin gave the Lady Bobcats their first lead of the game just over a minute into the fourth quarter. Anahuac retook the lead but Rawls made a steal and drove for a layup that put Orangefield up 26-25 with 5:17 on the fourth quarter clock.
Oldham played the fourth quarter for the Lady Bobcats with four fouls and still was a force inside. Her free throw expanded the Orangefield advantage to two points with less than four minutes remaining in regulation.
The only Lady Bobcat to score in each quarter was Gravett and she made her fourth basket of the game to stretch the lead to four points. About thirty seconds later Brooklyn Wagoner hit a three that put Orangefield up 32-25 with 3:25 left to play.
Franklin made two free throws to give the Lady Bobcats ten straight points and a 34-25 lead. Wagoner scored her seventh point of the fourth quarter and Rawls tacked on a final free throw in the final 46 seconds to conclude the 39-28 victory for Orangefield.
Seven Lady Bobcats contributed to the scoring with Rawls the leader tallying 9 points while also positioning herself to take the brunt end of three charges by the Lady Panthers. Gravett scored 8 points, assisted on 2 baskets, and made 2 steals plus deflected several Anahuac passes.
Orangefield Coach Eric Girola remembered how good it was to get a victory. "I was starting to forget how that felt, but it feels pretty good. It was really good to have Harleigh back. Obviously, offensively she gives us some help there, and I'm glad Greenlea was able to adjust a little bit in the second half we just need her to adjust a little bit earlier to stay out of foul trouble," Girola evaluated.
Two other Lady Bobcats Gravett and Wagoner were recognized after the game. Girola praised, "Very productive minutes. Kaylea the last four or five games has really stepped up and her energy is contagious. Brook stepped in to hit a big shot and helps defensively with her speed. I am very proud of them."
The Orangefield Lady Bobcats were 3-4 in district when they played at home against Kountze on Tuesday, January 17. The Lady Bobcats next game is Friday at Kirbyville.