“Karnes City put a lot of pressure on our ball handlers. We started out a bit rusty but finished with a strong run in the second half,” said head coach Joseph Grimes III.
“In the second half we started getting good looks at the basket and made the easy shots.”
The Lady Cats got things together in the second half to emerge with a 51-46 victory over the scrappy Lady Badgers.
The win improves the S-T record to 26-5 on the year while the Badgers end their season at 28-6.
The victory advanced the Lady Cats to the regional quarterfinals on Tuesday night in Kenedy. The S-T girls met the Marion Lady Bulldogs, 24-11, who defeated the San Diego Lady Vaqueros 67-49 on Friday night in their area match-up.
The Lady Badgers pressured the ball relentlessly Saturday night and it gave the S-T squad some problems over the first quarter and into the second. Karnes City led 11-7 after the first eight minutes and took a 23-19 lead at halftime.
Adjustments were made at the half and the Lady Cats picked up their defensive efforts and began to turn the momentum back their way in the third period.
A Brittany Garza short jumper in the lane gave the S-T girls the lead at 33-31 with 1:10 left in the period. It was the first lead for the Lady Cats since the opening minutes.
S-T scored 18 third quarter points, taking advantage of a few Karnes City turnovers for easy baskets and it was a 37-33 Lady Cats heading into the final eight minutes.
The Lady Badgers fought back and tied it at 38-38 with about four minutes left in the game, but the Lady Cats went on a 10-2 run to break the game open. It was 48-40 thanks to the foul shooting of Garza and D’Anne Wilder with less than a minute left.
The Lady Badgers were forced to foul as time ran down, hoping for a few misses, but the Lady Cats calmly went to the charity stripe and cashed in on the opportunities.
A late basket and turnover by the Lady Cats made it closer than it could have been as the Lady Badgers refused to give in until the final buzzer. The finals was still an S-T victory at 51-46.
“These S-T Lady Cats never gave up and they kept on fighting till the end against a very good Karnes City team,” said Grimes.
Three Lady Cats were in double figures for the contest. Amber Hughlett led the way with 15 points. Wilder followed with 14 and Garza finished with 13 points. Samantha Minter and Celina Acosta contributed four. Kathy Acosta added one free throw in the win.
The region quarterfinals match-up had the Lady Cats meeting Marion in Kenedy on Tuesday night.