Yes, it was a loss, but Granbury Lady Pirate basketball head coach Leta Andrews had some good things to say about her team following a 59-50 home loss to Trimble Tech Tuesday night.
“We definitely showed signs of being a playoff team, playing them as hard as we fought them,” said Andrews.
“I think we’ve turned a corner and recognize we can compete with the best.”
When the teams met in Fort Worth last month, the Lady Bulldogs (25-4, 11-1 in District 7-4A) won 63-45. Tech forced the Lady Pirates into 40 turnovers that night.
Tuesday, Granbury (17-10, 9-3) reduced its turnovers to 22 and forced Tech, the state’s no. 9 team, into 15. Granbury also had a 43-29 rebound advantage, including 13-8 on the offensive boards.
And, the Lady Pirates were in position to win in the fourth quarter.
Both teams had already clinched a playoff berth, but the Lady Pirates were hoping to move into a tie for second with Tech. Instead, Granbury, despite the loss, secured third place when Arlington Heights was upset by Western Hills, 48-44.
Tech still has its sights set on the district championship and trails Aledo by a game. Tech, which has lost twice to the Ladycats this season (once in the Granbury tournament and once in district) by a total of nine points, travel to Aledo Tuesday.
Granbury was hosting Aledo, the No. 2 team in the state coached by former Lady Pirates assistant Mike Pinkerton, last night. They finish the regular season at Arlington Heights Tuesday and will meet the District 8-4A runner-up in bidistrict.
In District 8-4A, Cleburne and Burleson Centennial are tied for first, with Burleson and Crowley two games back.
Tuesday’s game began with the Lady Pirates firmly in command, leading 12-3 after the opening quarter. Tech was 1-for-12 from the field.
In the second quarter, however, the Lady Bulldogs found their shot and intensified their own defense. They hit eight of 15 field goals and forced Granbury into eight turnovers in taking a 24-23 halftime lead.
Tech increased its lead in the third quarter, but the Lady Pirates remained pesky. Kennedy Shelstead’s 3-pointer, followed by Morgan Northcutt’s basket, gave Granbury a 28-24 lead before Tech followed with a 16-4 run to go up 40-32.
Northcutt showed what Andrews said might have been some lingering effects from being forced into a wall in the previous game at Southwest. She left that game, a 76-30 Granbury win, at halftime and went to the hospital.
Tests showed no concussion, but there was some swelling in her knee, Andrews said.
“She wasn’t her usual self,” said Andrews. “She took quite a hit.”
Northcutt, the lone senior on the team, was honored before the game. She holds the school record for consecutive free throws made (57) and recently made nine 3-pointers – just one shy of the record – in a 78-40 home win over Western Hills.
Erin Jones brought Granbury to within 46-44 when she made two free throws with 5:06 left in the game. The Lady Bulldogs then scored the next nine points for their biggest lead of the night, 55-44, with 2:38 to play.
“We went toe-to-toe with that team, and if we could have a gotten another break or two, we could have won,” said Andrews.
Bryce Frank and Shelstead shared team-high scoring honors for Granbury, each with 18. Frank also led all rebounders in the game with 16.
Crystal Allen of Tech led all scorers with 28 points.
The teams combined to shoot 56 free throws, with Tech hitting 17 of its 32 attempts and Granbury going 16-for-24.
“They got knocked down and got right back up,” said Andrews of her team.
“We grew some tonight. We fought a good battle.”
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Trimble Tech 3 21 18 17 – 59
Granbury 12 11 11 16 – 50
Granbury (17-10, 9-3 in 7-4A) scoring – Kennedy Shelstead 18, Bryce Frank 18, Erin Jones 5, Amber Strange 5, Morgan Northcutt 4.
Tech (25-4, 11-1) scoring leaders – Crystal Allen 28, LaKendra Bassett 10.
3-pointers – Granbury: Shelstead 2. Tech: none.
Rebound leaders – Granbury: Frank 16, Strange 8, Caroline Forrest 7, Northcutt 6. Tech: Allen 10, Bassett 6.
Assist leaders – Granbury: Strange 2, Frank 2, Forrest 2. Tech: Bassett 3.
Steals – Granbury: Forrest 2. Tech: Bassett 4.
Blocks – Granbury: Frank 1, Shelstead 1. Tech: Caitlin Reed 2.
2-point FG – Granbury 14-35 (40 percent). Tech 21-41 (51 percent).
3-point FG – Granbury 2-12 (17 percent). Tech 0-7.
Free throws – Granbury 16-24 (67 percent). Tech 17-32 (53 percent).
Total rebounds – Granbury 43 (13 offensive). Tech 29 (8 offensive).
Total assists – Granbury 8. Tech 6.
Total steals – Granbury 4. Tech 10.
Total blocks – Granbury 2. Tech 2.
Turnovers – Granbury 22. Tech 15.