The hometown Hope Ladycats battled hard in defeat to their longtime school rivals' Magnolia Lady Panthers 42-27 Tuesday night for the first of their two game season conference series at Jones Field House Gymnasium.

The hometown Hope Ladycats battled hard in defeat to their longtime school rivals' Magnolia Lady Panthers 42-27 Tuesday night for the first of their two game season conference series at Jones Field House Gymnasium.

The Ladycats had the early lead with Zahria Woods scoring the game's first basket in the first period at the 5:10 mark with Hope leading Magnolia 2-0. Magnolia answered back with six points scored down to the 2:17 mark to lead Hope 6-2.

Andria Curtis stopped for the run for Hope knocking down one of two 3-pointers made from behind the arc to pull the Ladycats within one point to Magnolia's 6-5 lead. Magnolia then showed their range from downtown and drained two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to play in first period action. At the end of the first, Hope trailed Magnolia 14-5.

In the second period, the Ladycats posted seven points scored with contributions from Ke'Azha Roberts. Lanay Wheaton, Woods and Jaleia Davis. Magnolia would match Hope's scoring in the period with seven points as well. At the break, Hope headed to the locker room trailing Magnolia, 21-12.

In the second half, the Ladycats and Lady Panthers both matched each other again to score 10 points apiece in third quarter action, but Magnolia remain on top to lead Hope 31-22 after three periods of action.

With a nine point deficit going into the fourth quarter, the hometown Ladycats needed to build some momentum, but Magnolia opened the period creating an scoring spree to up their lead to 37-22 to post the first three baskets down to the 4:25 mark for an 15 point lead. The Ladycats finally got on the board in the fourth with Courtney Davis splitting a pair of free-throws at the 2:40 mark.

The Lady Panthers answered back accounting for two baskets from the field with a trey behind the arc to extend their lead to 42-24 with 1:30 left to play in the game. Courtney Davis split another pair of free-throws, then Wheaton scored Hope's last basket under a minute but Magnolia went onto victory to take the first game of their series match-up.

The Ladycats were led in scoring by senior Curtis dropping eight points with two trifecta's from behind the arc. Jaleia Davis followed with a strong seven points and Woods added four points. Wheaton and Courtney Davis each had three points apiece and Roberts finished with two points.

For Friday night, the Ladycats will return to more league play for Friday night hoops on the road to battle Class 6A El Dorado apart of the blended 5A-6A Conference.

Then next week following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday holiday (Monday Jan.15), on Tuesday Jan. 16 the Ladycats travel to Camden-Fairview to face the Cardinals for conference hoops.