BURLESON -- Coming off of a three-game losing streak, all to good teams and all by close margins, Burleson coach Rusty East knew his team was rounding into form.
The Lady Elks proved him right Tuesday night.
Mackenzie Hailey recorded 21 points, nine rebounds, and seven steals to lead Burleson as the Elks downed Crowley, 46-35, in a District 8-4A contest.
Burleson (15-8, 4-2) trailed only once in the game, 2-0. Hailey erased that hitting a 3-pointer and the Elks went on a 10-0 run shortly after that, sparked by strong defensive play, to take a 16-5 lead.
"We're big on our defense about getting in lanes and getting deflections," said East, whose team came up with 18 steals on the night off of numerous tipped passes. "Madison Landers had a ton of deflections for us tonight."
Crowley (14-10, 4-2) was able to stay in the game, trailing 22-18 at the half, due to the hot shooting of Haley Gresham who accounted for 13 of the team's 18 first-half points and finished with a team-high 19.
"She [Gresham] was just a thorn in our side," East said. "We finally started shading her a little bit and it was a small adjustment that we made so it wasn't anything we needed to over coach.
"Our zone doesn't really shade to one person, so all we had to do was make our rotations a little bit better. It was a very easy adjustment, but she was incredible."
Trailing 34-24 late in the third quarter, Crowley's Daniella Chavez and Akierra Maddox made a final push for the Eagles.
Chavez hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer and opened the fourth with a pair of free throws. Maddox followed with two steals, a layup and a free throw of her own to cut Burleson's lead to 34-32 with 6:04 left in the game.
The teams traded baskets from there until a steal by Hailey led to a 3-pointer by Lindsay Bryan, giving the Elks a 41-35 lead with 3:07 left.
"She [Bryan] gives us everything she's got," said East of the sophomore point guard. "She never comes off the floor and that 3 was a big momentum changer for us. That was a big, big play."
Crowley couldn't recover as the Elks held the Eagles scoreless for the final 4:20 of the game and Burleson ended the game with steals on Crowley's last three possessions.
Hailey, also a sophomore, finished the night hitting 8 of 10 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
"I've never beaten Crowley," East said. "I don't know what my record is, but it was 0-fer so you can understand how big that win is for us."
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