The art of winning high school basketball games encompasses several different aspects.
For example, there are height, rebounding prowess and the ability to light up the scoreboard from beyond the arc.
In Tuesday's Mississippi High School High School Activities Association Region 1-6A girls contest between visiting Horn Lake and Southaven — the top-ranked teams in The Commercial Appeal's Dandy Dozen — the host Lady Chargers capitalized on the first two on the list to register a 56-45 victory.
The crutch for the Lady Eagles, who were tagged with their first loss of the season, was the inability to score from the outside.
"Our advantage in the post showed up as the game went on," said Southaven coach David Baldwin, who saw his club improve to 18-2 overall and 3-0 in league play.
"We just thought we'd take a shot and see if they missed a few. When they missed them and we rebounded them, we got a little bit of a running game going. We live and die by running — that's just the way it is."
Horn Lake (17-1, 2-1) took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter. but from the 4:11 mark until the halftime break, the Lady Chargers went on a 14-2 run.
Three of those buckets came from Providence signee Aliyah Miller, who battled hard under the rim and flexed her muscle with second- and third-chance scoring opportunities.
"It was hard at first, because they're pretty strong," said Miller, who finished with a game-high 17 points. "They'll push you out of the way and do anything they can to make it hard to score, but you've got to stay smart and just keep playing with heart."
The Lady Eagles strung together a 7-0 run, highlighted by a Treasure Evans 3-pointer, to cut their deficit to five midway through the third, yet Southaven closed out the period with seven unanswered to take a 46-34 lead.
"Without our post players ... Miller and Jasmine (Joyner) played really well; they were the difference tonight," said Baldwin, "but Joanna (Smith) came in there and made a couple of real nice baskets when we needed them. And give us something they couldn't catch up with."
Smith concluded her night with 14 points, including eight in the fourth. Brittany Grant led the Lady Eagles by scoring 12.
"The same things that make you laugh, make you cry," Horn Lake coach Janna Lyons said.
"This is an extremely young group, and at times, it showed tonight. Overall, I think I had a couple of players that kind of let the hype of the game get to them."
The Lady Eagles play DeSoto Central on Friday, before gearing up for Round 2 with Southaven on Jan. 29. The rematch will be at home.
"One (loss) was going to come," said Lyons. "We're undersized. Our heart goes a long way, but down the stretch, we've got to get used to playing some bigger girls. It was a great learning experience, I think, at the end of the day."