If defense wins championships, the Amarillo High girls basketball team looked like contenders Tuesday night.
AHS' defense was smothering in a non-district home game against Randall. It forced turnover after turnover while holding the Lady Raiders to nine first half points and no field goals in the opening quarter.
It all led to a dominant 57-33 win for the Lady Sandies (10-1), who are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A by the TABC.
The best coaches know that no matter how good you are, you can always be better. While proud of the effort, and final result, AHS leader Jeff Williams noted there's still room to grow for his squad.
"We executed pretty well," he said. "We just didn't shoot very well. A lot of that has to do with Randall. They get after physically, they play hard, but I feel like we're executing. We're just not shooting it well at home yet. It's a weird deal, but I like where we're at and I think we're getting better every time we go out there.
Amarillo, which got off to a slow start, made 4-of-16 shots from beyond the arc and 22-of-51 overall.
Standout McKenzie Sims contributed as she went 0-for-5 from three-point range. She got it going, though, finishing with 17 points.
"McKenzie is kind of where it all begins," Williams said. "She was MVP of the district last year, so she's had a ton of success. McKenzie is just a good leader. The girls respond to her. She's one of the finest players I've ever had."
Jada Graves added 10 points, while Ca'Nia Mitchell and Taytum Bell contributed eight a piece the Lady Sandies.
Though it was a tough outing, the Lady Raiders (5-5) just got three key players added to their roster from volleyball following a state championship run. The early success of Sadie Sanchez and Ashley Norman, who had 11 and 12 points, respectively, is encouraging.
Now that the full team is in place, Randall's journey is getting started.
"We just got three kids back," Randall coach Brooke Walthall. "We've had two practices and this is our second game (since then). I want to see us get better on our journey...We've played 10 games and we've only played two of them with our whole team. Our journey looks a little bit different than everybody else's right now."
Randall is set to head to Granbury for a tournament where it will play Centennial on Thursday. AHS is slated to play Lee in the San Antonio Tournament.
Brooke Henderson 0-1, 0-1, 0; Sadie Sanchez 4-16, 2-6, 11; Ashley Norman 3-10, 0-4, 12; Riley Kemp 0-1, 0-0, 2; Hari Valdez 1-2, 0-0, 2; Avri Burk 2-3, 0-1, 4; Layla Romero 1-1, 0-0, 2
Totals 11-34, 2-12, 33.
AMARILLO HIGH (10-1)
Wanda Graves 0-2, 0-2, 0; Jada Graves 5-9, 0-2, 10; Payton Daniels 1-3, 0-1, 2; Taytum Bell 4-5, 0-0, 8; Kikhi Simpson 2-2, 1-1, 5 Lacey Rice 2-7, 0-2, 5; Victoria Barrera 0-4, 0-1, 0; McKenzie Sims 5-13, 1-5, 17; Ca’Nia Mitchell 2-3, 2-2, 8; Tatyana Gampar 1-2, 0-0, 2; Meadow Barrett 0-1, 0-0, 0
Totals 22-51, 4-16, 57.
Halftime — AHS 33, RHS 9. 3-Point Goals — Randall 2(Sanchez 2), Amarillo High 4 (Simpson 1, Sims 1, Mitchell 2).
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Lady Sandies continue hot start to the season with 57-33 win over Randall