The two teams split their two regular season district match-ups and wound up with identical 7-7 records in district play. That was good enough for a fourth place tie, and only four teams can advance to the postseason per district.
A “play-in” game was needed. The contest was held at a neutral site, the home floor of the Beeville Trojans.
It was a pure defensive struggle from the opening tip. The pace was quick, but the defenses dictated the scoring—what there was of it.
The Lady Cats got the early edge with some inside work from Naomi Garza. The S-T forward struck for two baskets plus two free throws for six points. It was a 9-7 S-T lead after the first eight minutes.
The Lady Horns responded to the challenge with second period baskets from Brittney Mathis and Erin Snider. It was a 7-0 start for the GW team, and they jumped to a lead of five, 14-9.
The S-T team picked up their offense and finished the period with eight points. The GW girls hit for 11 points in that quarter. The Lady Horns were on top by one, 18-17, as the buzzer sounded at halftime.
Both teams struggled offensively in the third period. Turnovers and missed shots were the norm. Both teams added just six points, and it was a 24-23 contest entering the fourth quarter with the Lady Horns still holding on to the lead.
The decision went down to the final two minutes when a couple of GW turnovers led to quick S-T points. Free throws from Mari Martinez and then a couple of late baskets from Erica Nevarez were crucial. The GW girls could not answer, and the Lady Cats escaped with a 36-28 victory.
“We’ve been competing to be in this position since our first district game in November. I am proud of the girls and their efforts throughout the season,” said S-T head coach Catherine Stowe.
“Defensively, I couldn’t be happier with the team. They’ve adjusted to our style so well this year.”
The Lady Horns scored four points in the final eight minutes while the Lady Cats rallied to put up 13 markers to get the win.
“Bad passes and turnovers hurt the Lady Horns in the final minutes of the game,” said GW head coach Letha Thompson.
The GW ladies got 10 points from Brittney Mathis to lead the scoring attack. Erin Snider and Bethany Brysch each made eight points in the loss. Snider’s included two long-range jumpers for treys. Walker Wright added two points.
The Lady Cats were led by 10 points from Martinez. Garza followed with nine tallies and eight rebounds, while Nevarez came in with eight points. The S-T post also pulled down 19 rebounds.
S-T’s Isabel Jimenez finished with six points, and Lauren Richmond added three.
The Lady Cats advance into the postseason playoffs with a game scheduled Tuesday at 6 p.m. against the Bishop Lady Badgers on Tuloso-Midway’s court.