Fightin' Maidens vault to top of 16-4A standings after rout of Lufkin

Alexis Calderon, left, of Jacksonville gets set to blow by Lufkin's Dayshia Runnels during Tuesday's District 16-5A game that was played in Jacksonville. Calderon dropped in 17 points and came up with eight steals to pace the Maidens to a 54-19 victory.

In steamrolling Lufkin 57-19 on Tuesday night at the John Alexander Gymnasium, the Jacksonville Fightin' Maidens took the first step in flipping the script, so to speak.

Last season, in route to a 14-0 run through district, the Lady Pack beat Jacksonville by two points in the teams' first meeting in Lufkin.

Jacksonville head girls basketball coach Lynn Nabi said that had to change this season.

“We went down there and lost in our first meeting last year and we were playing from behind the rest of the way in district,” Nabi said. “It was really important for us to get the win over Lufkin and take care of business here at home (Tuesday). We still have to go down there, and you never know what will happen.”

The Fightin' Maidens (13-8, 4-0) are alone at the top of the loop standings, with Lufkin (13-8, 3-1) occupying the second spot.

“Right now it looks like it is us and Lufkin, and then everyone else is pretty evenly matched,” Nabi said. “So, this was an important win for us.”

Lufkin never could find traction, especially on the offensive end.

Jacksonville closed out the first quarter on a 12-0 run and carried a 14-1 lead into the second stanza.

With Jacksonville leading 29-1, the Lady Pack finally made a shot from the field when Akyshia Ramsey knocked down a deuce with 4:31 left in the first half.

The Maidens won the second quarter 23-11 to take a comfortable 37-12 lead into the break.

Junior-point guard Alexis Calderon scored 12 of her team-leading 17 points in the first half. Calderon also sank three of the Maidens' six treys in the affair.

“Often Alexis is faced with the decision to either pass the ball off, or take the shot,” Nabi said. “Things vary from night-to-night, depending on the match ups, but I never want to see her give up a good shot.

“I think she did a good job recognizing when she had the best shot (Tuesday).”

Also hitting in double digits for the Maidens was Grace Abercrombie (14) and Ka'Lessia Anderson (13).

Anderson completed the double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds.

Calderon also racked up eight steals in the game, as the Lady Pack guards struggled to protect the ball when matched up with the cat-quick Calderon.

“I know sometimes people think she tries to do too much out there,” Nabi said. “But, she is playing her game and she is doing things that help us win ball games.”

There was a 2:00 stretch in the second quarter where Jacksonville scored 10-straight points off of Lufkin turnovers, with Calderon being the Lady Packs' No. 1 nemesis.

Jacksonville now must take its show on the road, with a Friday date with Nacogdoches, followed by traveling to Whitehouse next Tuesday.



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