Landrie Polk

Gainesville freshman Landrie Polk looks to shoot in the Lady Leopards win against Callisburg on Tuesday night.

Freshman guard Olivia Neelley led the charge as Gainesville took control against Callisburg.

The Lady Leopards basketball team defeated the Lady Cats 43-26 Tuesday night in Gainesville after a dominant second quarter.

Gainesville (2-1) ended the first quarter and opened the second with a 13-0 run to pull away from the Lady Cats. Neelley scored the first 7 points of the run.

Callisburg (0-2) opened the third with a strong run of its own, but a 26-9 halftime deficit was too much to overcome.

Gainesville coach Shaun Weaver said it was a good victory for her team.

“(There’s) things we can do to get better,” Weaver said. “Being a team that’s trying to mesh together, unify and make different personalities work, it’s a good start for us.”

The Lady Leopards outscored Callisburg 17-4 in the second quarter to take a firm grasp on the game. The Lady Cats managed only a field goal and two free throws in the quarter before Gainesville took a 6-0 run into halftime.

Callisburg responded after the break. Freshman Laura Hernandez scored the first 5 points of the second half before Gainesville got on the board. Junior Ashlyn Wandell hit the game’s first and only three-pointer to make it 28-17, but the Lady Leopards ended the run with a 7-0 burst of their own, putting to bed any thoughts of a comeback.

Weaver said Gainesville needs to work on preparing for an opponent to have runs like Callisburg’s.

“I always tell the team, ‘A good team makes a run, but a great team can stop the run,’” Weaver said. “And in that moment, the good team came out. Us trying to work together and do some things differently, we weren’t ready for it.”

Gainesville senior Yezmine Peralta led all scorers with 14 points. Neelley followed with 11, and fellow freshman Landrie Polk had 9.

For Callisburg, Hernandez led with 13 points. Wandell and junior Abby Pollard each scored 5.

While a senior led the Lady Leopards in scoring, two freshman guards followed close behind. Weaver said her freshmen will become something special.

“Coming into this year, I think we got a complete puzzle now,” Weaver said. “With those freshmen coming in being guards, it justifies what we have in the back court for our post and center.”

Gainesville is off to a nice start after winning two of its first three games, but there is a long way still to go. Weaver said turnovers are one of the main areas where she wants to see improvement.

“We watched the ball a lot,” Weaver said. “We need to learn how to block out, crash the boards. That’s probably another one of our weaknesses, but our key thing right now is just taking care of the ball and handling that press.”

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