“We knew coming into the game it was going to be a hard battle. It was a tense game right from the start,” said Lady Trojan head coach Katina Walker.
Trailing late in the fourth quarter, the Cherokees found themselves having to foul and hoping the Lady Trojans would miss the free throws. The strategy failed as the Beeville girls calmly stroked in eight of 10 shots over the final three plus minutes to push the Cherokees to their third straight district loss.
The Lady Trojans came out strong and held the Cherokees to just six first period points. The Beeville girls put up 14 to earn a early eight-point advantage.
The Lady Trojans continued their first quarter domination by outscoring the Cherokees 16-10 in the second period to open up a nice 30-16 lead at halftime.
The previously state-ranked T-M girls would not quit and mounted the comeback trail by playing some strong defense in the second half. The Lady Trojans lost five points of their lead with a poor offensive performance in the third period, hitting for just six tallies while the Cherokees recorded 11. It was a little closer at 36-27, heading into the final stanza.
The play was intense and Beeville’s leading scorer, Victoria Elizalde, went out of the game with her second technical foul with a little more than three minutes left to play. Four technicals were called in the hotly contested match.
The rest of the Lady Trojans kept things under control and when forced to step to the charity stripe, Krystal Cuellar, Tori Muñoz and Theresa Amador hit what they needed to keep the Cherokees at bay and maintain the Beeville lead.
“Defense won this game. With Victoria (Elizalde) out of the game due to the technicals, Krystal (Cuellar) and Ciara (Garcia) had two game-stopping steals at the end of the ball game that T-M could not recover from,” said Walker.
The T-M girls scored 20 points in the final eight minutes to make it closer, but the Beeville girls managed to produce 15 to win the important District 30-4A contest on the Cherokees’ home floor.
The win improves the Lady Trojans’ record to 23-5 on the season and puts them at 5-1 in the district battles. T-M falls to 17-10 overall and 2-4 in district play.
Elizalde led the Lady Trojans in scoring with 19 points, 12 coming in the first half. Ciara Garcia hit for eight points in the win. Paige McKinney added seven points, while Cuellar and Amador each contributed six. Brennan Holder followed with four points, and Tori Muñoz hit one big free throw late in the game.
The Lady Trojans dominated the glass in the first half, especially as Elizalde, Holder, Garcia, Amador and McKinney worked well inside to keep the Cherokees under control and limit any put-backs.
The Lady Trojans had another tough road game on Tuesday night when they traveled to meet the Gregory-Portland Ladycats in the first game of the second round of district play. On Friday, the Beeville girls will host the Victoria West Lady Warriors.