ALEDO – The Granbury Lady Pirates entered last week with their sights set on capturing the District 7-4A championship.
They ended the week in third place and knowing that will be their seeding from the league for the upcoming playoffs, which they will open against rival Cleburne Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Boswell High School.
Friday’s 50-46 loss to the Aledo Ladycats secured that fate for the Lady Pirates (19-13, 10-3 in district). Aledo (24-7, 12-1), meanwhile, was playing Trimble Tech (26-5, 12-1) for the district title last night in Fort Worth.
“We wanted it so badly, and if the girls feel like I do, I feel like I drained all the blood out of my system,” said Lady Pirate coach Leta Andrews.
“There’s no doubt in my mind each girl gave everything they had.”
And it was almost enough to defeat one of the hottest-playing around on their home court. Since losing 50-42 to Tech to end the first half of district, the Ladycats have been virtually untouchable, including wins of 91-9 over South Hills and 102-17 over Western Hills in which they scored 41 points in a single quarter.
Granbury led 40-38 entering the final quarter. However, the staunch Aledo defense that forced 24 turnovers all night, came up with seven Lady Pirate miscues in the final stanza to shut them down.
Lilley Vander Zee, who led all scorers with 19 points, was the lone Lady Pirate to score in the final period, scoring six points.
“They have such tremendous ballhandlers and great court awareness,” said Andrews.
“They’re just used to winning.”
Three baskets in the span of 54 seconds gave the Ladycats a 44-40 advantage that they never relinquished. Vander Zee scored Granbury’s final points with 25 seconds left, making the score 48-46.
Then, with nine seconds remaining, Kaylee Black put the finishing touches on the Aledo victory.
Had Granbury been able to foul the Ladycats in the closing seconds, they might have gotten the ball back for a possible tying or go-ahead shot. Aledo was only 10-for-24 from the line.
Despite the loss, Andrews said she felt as though her team played better than it did in a 46-40 loss to Aledo at home on Jan. 8.
“We certainly played a better game, we just had some turnovers at the wrong time,” said Andrews.
“But I’d like to think we can fix that before the playoffs. If we can, I still believe we can go all the way to Austin.”
Granbury’s largest lead was five points, twice, at 18-13 and 40-35. Aledo’s biggest advantage was six at 29-23 before the Lady Pirates rallied to tie the game on Morgan Northcutt’s 3-pointer with the first half closing.
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Granbury 15 14 11 6 – 46
Aledo 13 16 9 12 – 50
Granbury (19-13, 10-3 in 7-4A) scoring – Lilley Vander Zee 19, Morgan Northcutt 14, Lauren Clough 7, Bailey Cole 4, Shelby Cline 2.
Aledo (24-7, 12-1) leading scorers – Alyssa Dry 15, Mallory Powell 15.
3-pointers – Granbury 5-12 (Northcutt 4, Clough 1), Aledo 4-13 (Powell 2, Black 1, Frank 1).
Rebounds – Granbury 22 (Vander Zee 9, Ashley Bonugli 7), Aledo 21.
Granbury assists – Vander Zee 4.
Turnovers – Granbury 24, Aledo 9.
Free – Granbury 9-13, Aledo 10-24.