FORT WORTH – If the Trimble Tech Lady Bulldogs go on to win the District 7-4A championship, coach Melanie Lane said it will come down to one thing.
Make that two things, their focus in the third quarter and in the final four minutes of their 43-41 victory against the Granbury Lady Pirates Monday at Billingsley Field House.
“We were focused when it counted most,” she said.
The Lady Bulldogs used a 17-6 run in the third quarter to tie the game at 32 entering the fourth quarter. Then, after the Lady Pirates appeared to have weathered the storm and gone back up 39-34 on Whitney Matos’ basket with 4:18 left, Tech knuckled down and ended the game with a 9-2 surge.
The victory kept Tech (25-5, 11-1 in 7-4A) tied for the league lead with Aledo (23-7, 11-1). Granbury (19-12, 10-2) fell to third.
Lilley Vander Zee gave Granbury its final lead of the game, 41-39, after she took Shelby Cline’s assist under the outstretched arm of a Tech defender.
Granbury would not manage another shot, turning the ball over three times in the final 1:12.
Tech point guard LaKendra Bassett tied the game at 41 with 1:25 remaining. Then, after being fouled, she hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 57 seconds left for the winning points and Tech’s only lead of the game.
Vander Zee continued her torrid play of late, leading all scorers with 25 points and all rebounders with 10. Whitney Matos came off the bench to score 10 points, and Ashley Bonugli delivered seven assists.
The Lady Pirates held Tech to 6-for-20 shooting in building a 24-15 halftime advantage. When Matos scored 37 seconds into the third, Granbury had a double-digit lead.
Then, Tech’s Karrington Brown was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. She made all three free throws, which sparked the Lady Bulldogs on a run that would ultimately tie the game.
Crystal Allen followed with back-to-back 3-point baskets to close the gap to 26-24.
“It all shifted right there,” said Granbury coach Leta Andrews.
“We made poor choices, and they caught up with us.”
“Our focus since starting the second half of district has been free throws, and when she made those, it pumped us up,” Lane said.
The Lady Pirates travel to Aledo Friday, hoping to avenge a 46-40 loss at home on Jan. 8. A win in that game, followed by an Aledo victory against Trimble Tech in Fort Worth next Tuesday, would leave the three teams tied for the top spot and having split all of the games between them.
The gate is still open,” said Andrews.
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Granbury 13 11 8 9 – 41
Trimble Tech 10 5 17 11 – 43
Granbury (19-12, 10-2 in 7-4A) scoring – Lilley Vander Zee 25, Whitney Matos 10, Shelby Cline 3, Ashley Bonugli 3.
Tech scoring leaders – Karrington Brown 14, LaKendra Bassett 12.
3-pointers – Granbury 0-6, Tech 2-9.
Rebounds – Granbury 24 (Vander Zee 10), Tech 16.
Granbury assists – Bonugli 7.
Turnovers – Granbury 14, Tech 13.
Steals – Tech: Brown 6.
Free throws – Granbury 7-12, Tech 9-17.
Last Friday’s game
Southwest 5 10 13 4 – 32
Granbury 14 23 14 11 – 62
Granbury scoring – Vander Zee 23, Morgan Northcutt 16, Bonugli 7, Cline 6, Kali Jones 4, Matos 2, Lauren Clough 2, Bailey Cole 2.
Rebounds – 39 (Cline 9, Vander Zee 7, Bonugli 7).
Assists – Clough 5, Bonugli 4.