Keith MacPherson, Sports Editor
GAINESVILLE — Gainesville welcomed Krum looking for an upset.
Instead, the Lady Cats left with smiles on their faces.
In a battle of state-ranked teams, No. 3 Krum toppled the No. 25 Lady Leopards 51-36 in the District 9-3A contest at Gainesville High School on Tuesday.
Gainesville (18-7, 2-1) was looking to upset the Lady Cats and grab a hold of sole possession of first place in the league after cracking the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 3A rankings for the first time earlier this week.
Krum (20-4, 4-0) would have other plans in mind, though, as the Lady Cats would use a quick start and a strong finish to down the Lady Leopards.
Julia Schmaltz scored a game-high 20 points for Krum. The Lady Cat forward scored nine of her points in the night during a 15-2 run by Krum to open the game.
Gainesville would scored the final seven points of the first quarter on a 3-pointer from Ariannah Kemp, a put back from Chandler Kemp and a layup from Brittany Royal to cut the lead to 15-9.
Ariannah Kemp led all Lady Leopards with 15 points on the night. Chandler Kemp had six points while Hali Smith and Kiarah Manuel both chipped in five points a piece.
Gainesville would cut the Krum lead to 19-14 on a Chandler Kemp runner at the midway point of the second quarter before a 10-3 Lady Cat run to end the half made it 29-17 at intermission.
The Lady Leopards would come out of the break firing on all cylinders, opening the half on a 10-5 run. Manuel capped off the scoring spurt with a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 34-27 a couple minutes into the third quarter.
Krum would once again answer with a run of its own as the Lady Cats would go into the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run after a pair of Rachel Wallace free throws. Wallaces would finish with 13 points for Krum.
The Lady Cats were nearly flawless from the free throw line, knocking down 17 of 19 shots from the charity stripe.
Despite the double-digit deficit going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Leopards continued to fight back, cutting the Krum lead to 40-33 after Smith knocked down two free throws of her own.
That would be as close as Gainesville would get, as Krum would close the game on another 7-0 run to make it 51-36.
Gainesville will look to bounce back from the loss when it travels to take on Bridgeport at 6:30 p.m. Friday.