Credit South Hills for posting a strong finish Tuesday night at the James Wann Sports Center.
Two of the three field goals they made came in the final quarter of an 88-6 loss to the Granbury Lady Pirates to open District 7-4A basketball play.
“I’m speechless,” said Lady Pirate coach Leta Andrews. “I’ve coached in just about every game imaginable, but I’ve not been in many like this.
“I commend their effort. South Hills tried hard.”
That’s like saying Walter Mondale tried hard in the 1984 presidential election against Ronald Reagan in losing 525-13 in electoral votes.
Granbury (9-10 overall) led 28-0 after the first quarter. Then, after Kwanisha Darden scored for South Hills (5-7 overall) 19 seconds into the second quarter, the Lady Pirates followed with a 43-0 run.
“I have never in my life been involved in anything like this at any level,” said junior guard Morgan Northcutt.
Lilley Vander Zee led the Lady Pirates with 18 points and 10 rebounds. She also blocked four shots, all in limited time.
In fact, all 11 players on the Granbury roster scored. Ten had at least one rebound, nine had at least one steal (led by Ashley Bonugli with eight), and seven had at least one assist.
Sophomore Whitney Matos said the biggest challenge of the night was maintaining focus.
“I had time to learn things I need to practice on,” she said. “You’ve just got to play through it and continue to work.”
Northcutt echoed those thoughts.
“I can’t explain what happened tonight, but you’ve got to keep your focus,” she said. “It’s easy to get lazy and sloppy in a game like this. But we’ve got more games ahead of us that are going to be a lot closer, so we have to focus on all the things we need to do right.”
True, it wasn’t a perfect night for the Lady Pirates. After all, they were 0-for-2 from 3-point range and only 4-for-7 at the free throw line.
“In a close game that could cost us,” said Andrews.
The Lady Pirates had a 30-4 rebound advantage. They forced 45 turnovers and committed 14. They had 34 steals.
Granbury players combined for 15 assists, while South Hills had none.
South Hills mustered just a dozen shots, hitting only three, and the Lady Scorpions did not attempt a 3-pointer. They also missed all three free throw attempts.
Granbury was an eye-popping 42-for-60 (70 percent) from the field.
Darden had all four of her team’s rebounds, all seven of their steals, and four of their points. The only help she got was when a teammate banked in a basket early in the fourth.
Andrews said she realizes there will be critics, but she also noted every Lady Pirate played.
“No one gets much out of a game like this,” she said. “I know South Hills played their hearts out. It gets us in the win column, that’s really about all you can say.
“We are on fire to take care of business in district.”
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South Hills 0 2 0 4 – 6
Granbury 28 18 25 17 – 88
Granbury (9-10, 1-0 in 7-4A) scoring – Lilley Vander Zee 18, Whitney Matos 10, Bailey Cole 10, Morgan Northcutt 9, Lauren Clough 8, Shelby Cline 8, Breanna Crain 7, Ashley Bonugli 6, Kali Jones 6, Erin Jones 4, Mikayla Carpenter 2.
Rebounds – Vander Zee 10, Clough 5.
Assists – Northcutt 5, Bonugli 4.
Steals – Bonugli 8, Cole 6, Cline 5.
Blocks – Vander Zee 4.
Free throws – Granbury 4-7, South Hills 0-3.