By BRETT MARSHALL
ULYSSES — Home never felt much better for the Ulysses Lady Tigers than it did Tuesday.
Especially for senior Courtney Anthony.
Anthony scored 10 of her game-high 12 points in the first half pacing Ulysses to a 41-23 victory over Hugoton in non-league action. The two schools will become members of the new Great West Athletic Conference next year.
The win comes three days after the Lady Tigers were competing in the Haven Wildcat Classic that was interrupted by the winter storm late last week. Ulysses managed to get two of three games in (a win and a loss) and return to Haven on Saturday to complete the tournament when they play for fifth place against host Haven at 5:30 p.m.
In the meantime, home court was served and the victory over Hugoton improved the Lady Tigers to 7-6 while Hugoton fell to 2-11.
"I had a lot of open shots and that's because my teammates did a great job of passing the ball," Anthony said of her 6-of-9 field goal performance. "We are changing some of the things we do on offense. There's more passing and that's creating more open shots."
Anthony had the Tigers off to a strong start with six points in the first quarter in leading her team to a 10-1 advantage. She made both of her field goal attempts in the second quarter as Ulysses extended its lead to 27-12 by intermission.
"We're still a very young team and just not very good right now," former Ulysses and first-year Hugoton coach Lee Gillen said. "It's a process with this group. They're learning a whole new system and the girls are trying their hardest. The biggest thing for them is learning to play hard. Until they play hard, nothing else matters."
Ulysses extended its margin to 22 after three quarters and coasted in the fourth period.
"It's nice to get a game where we can get some experience for our younger girls because Hugoton is going to be good next year with all their young players," Ulysses coach Eric Flaton said. "This is one of those building games."
Flaton said the overtime victory on Saturday against Kingman at the Haven Classic was a big momentum boost to his team.
"I think we came back more focused, more energized and had a good practice on Monday," he said. "We had good ball movement tonight and we did a great job of getting more people involved in the offense. When we get more people involved we're much more of a threat."
In addition to Anthony's 12 points, sophomore Kaylea Britton added 11. Marissa Ramsey led Hugoton with seven points. The Eagles though, claimed the rebounding battle by a 37-25 margin as 6-foot-2 sophomore Nicole Kinser pulled down 12. But the Eagles were guilty of 35 turnovers to just 16 for Ulysses.
"The things we need to fix we'll have to work on next summer," Gillen said. "We've got to learn to shoot the ball better and take care of it. It's a typical transition time for our program. The speed of the game for the girls has gone up astronomically from playing in the eighth grade."
Ulysses 41, Hugoton 23
HUGOTON (2-11) — Sandoval 1-5 0-2 2, Hoskinson 0-1 3-4 3, Parsons 0-2 1-2 1, Gustafson 0-1 1-2 1, Goode 1-4 0-0 2, Kinser 2-3 1-2 5, Madsen 0-1 0-0 0, Miranda Ramsey 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Marian Ramsey 2-3 3-4 7. Totals 7-24 9-16 23.
ULYSSES (7-6) — Meierhoff 2-4 3-6 7, Langley 0-3 0-1 0, Jarnagin 2-4 2-3 6, McCauley 0-3 0-0 0, Westover 0-3 0-2 0, Anthony 6-9 0-0 12, Spencer 0-3 0-0 0, Monzon 2-7 0-0 7, Britton 4-12 2-2 11. Totals 16-48 7-16 41.
Hugoton 1 11 3 8 -- 23
Ulysses 10 17 10 4 -- 41
3-point goals — Hugoton 0-2 (Sandoval 0-2), Ulysses 2-6 (Langley 0-1, Monzon 1-3, Britton 1-2). Rebounds — Hugoton 37 (Kinser 12), Ulysses 25 (Jarnagin, Monzon 5 each). Turnovers — Hugoton 35, Ulysses 16. Team fouls — Hugoton 19, Ulysses 17. Fouled out — None.