BORGER — The Howard College women's basketball team apparently decided that enough was enough.
After having lost four Western Junior College Athletic Conference games in a row, then finding themselves in a close battle with Frank Phillips College Monday, the Hawks suddenly found a winning combination, riding the hot hands of Zeslie Johnson and Kali Jerrell to a 65-46 victory over the Lady Plainsmen.
In the nightcap, Shavon Coleman scored 26 points to lead the Howard men to a 68-55 victory over Frank Phillips.
It took the Hawks about 20 minutes to figure out FPC's slowdown game, and the solution proved to be guards Johnson and Jerrell. The duo combined for 36 points to break open a 30-30 halftime tie to allow Howard to bury its recent losing streak.
“This was a really important game,” Howard College Coach Earl Diddle said. “Frank Phillips really made this a possession game — they slowed down the tempo and made some big shots in the first half … But we came out on a 17-2 run in the second half to break it open and we pretty much had control of the game from there on.”
Leading the charge was Johnson, who led all scorers with 20 points, and Jerrell, who added 17. Lakisha Nash was the only Lady Plainsman in double figures with 14 points.
Diddle said the game was a testament to his team's determination to put their recent losing ways to rest.
“We were able to scratch our way back into the game,” he said. “I told the girls earlier this season that conference play was a 12-game schedule and you've really got to play through each game … We really had to get rid of our recent baggage, just let it go, and get to the next game, and I think that was the really positive thing they did tonight.”
The Hawks (15-8 overall, 2-4 in conference play) return to action Thursday when they host Western Texas College at Dorothy Garrett Coliseum. Game time is 5:45 p.m.
Playing in Borger has always been a strange experience for the Hawks — they have had a great deal of success there against FPC, but the games have usually been close affairs.
Not this time.
The Hawks gradually built a double-digit lead, then never let FPC back into the game to stay tied for second in the WJCAC standings.
“It's always a difficult place to play … but they battled through things (Monday),” HC Coach Mark Adams said.
Swing man Shavon Coleman put on an offensive display with 26 points, while Calvin Godfrey added 10 points for the Hawks, who improved to 16-5 overall and 5-2 in WJCAC play.
With the win, Howard finished the first half of conference play tied with Odessa College for second place, two games behind WJCAC leader South Plains.
“I think we've improved considerably since our first conference game,” Adams said. “Hopefully, we're not done with getting better. I'm pleased with where we are right now … but we still have a ways to go.”
Howard's next game is Thursday at 7:45 p.m. vs. Western Texas College in Garrett Coliseum.