GRAPEVINE -- Timely 3-pointers kept Grapevine in the game, but Hurst L.D. Bell's pressure defense put the Blue Raiders over the top in a 53-45 victory Tuesday night.
The backcourt tandem of Cierra Johnson and Channing Taylor collected a combined 14 steals (Johnson eight, Taylor six). Johnson led all scorers with 19 points and had five assists.
"They're the front line of our pressure defense," Bell coach Brock Pembleton said. "When they do what they're capable of defensively and we're rotating to the ball, we can get after people."
Despite committing 28 turnovers, Grapevine (15-14, 5-5 District 6-5A) was able to answer Bell's scoring spurts with strong shooting from the 3-point arc. Point guard Nicole Taake nailed three 3-pointers, and her first put the Mustangs up 11-10 after one quarter.
Taake led Grapevine with 17 points.
The Blue Raiders (25-4, 8-2) went on a 9-0 run to start the second quarter and didn't allow another Grapevine field goal until Abby Sandy's corner 3-pointer with 35 seconds left before halftime pulled the Mustangs within three points, 19-16.
"It made me feel good that we responded to [Bell's] runs and gave ourselves a chance to win the game," Grapevine coach Steve Granninger said. "We just made mistakes at crucial times. We couldn't put it together."
Maggie Lockwood's 3-pointer with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter gave Bell its first double-digit lead, 43-33.
The Mustangs rallied to make it 45-42 with less than a minute to play, but Bell made its free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory.
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