Hartwell, Smith provide spark in Lady Cougars district win

Ava Hartwell (1) scored 11 points in Creek’s 56-24 win over Lincoln Prep Monday night at the Ruston Sports Complex. (Photo by Darrell James)

By Malcolm Butler

With second leading scorer Lizzie McAdams out due to illness, Cedar Creek head coach Gene Vandenlangenberg turned to his bench during Monday night’s District 2-1A opener against Lincoln Prep.

And they responded.

Ava Hartwell, making the start in place of McAdams, scored 11 points while reserve Mallory Smith added 10 to help lead the Lady Cougars (12-4, 1-0) to a 56-24 win at the Ruston Sports Complex.

Meanwhile, Allie Furr turned in another Allie Furr performance: 15 points, 15 steals and 6 assists for the senior point guard.

“I loved our performance tonight,” said Vandenlangenberg. “It was our first district game on the road. It was a physical game. Coach Hearne had his girls ready to play. They came out and competed hard. Early on it seemed like they were very physical. We got bumped off of spots. But we didn’t get frustrated.

“We played four quarters really hard and we competed. It’s a great way to start district. We have a big week so it was good to start off district with a win.”

Creek jumped out to a 15-6 lead after the first quarter and then entered the halftime locker room with a commanding 34-8 advantage. Hartwell and Smith combined for 13 first half points, including a trio of three-pointers.

“Ava got a chance to start for us,” said Vandenlangenberg. “She made the most of it. She really played well. She has really picked up her defense. She has been playing hard and giving a lot of great effort and energy.

“Mallory is a great little role player for us. When she first came in I think she had a turnover and gave up a three-point play. But then when she came back in she hit three shots and made some good decision with the ball and didn’t turn it over. Any time we can have someone like Mallory come off the bench and give us 10 points, that speaks a lot about our team.”

Furr did most of her damage at the free throw line, hitting 11-of-12. Dating back to the win over Saline on Friday, Furr hit 23 consecutive free throws before missing her next to last attempt Monday night.

Lillian Soto and Leah Sutherland each scored five points while Zoey Venters and Olivia Underwood added four points each. Elli Dickerson led Creek with seven boards.

The Lady Cougars will host Claiborne Christian tonight at 6 p.m. at the Brickhouse.

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