Midway through the Brownwood Lady Lions’ home encounter with the Class 2A No. 6 Jim Ned Lady Indians, head coach Heather Hohertz’s squad found itself in possession of a 19-15 lead.
Over the final two quarters, however, the Lady Lions mustered just nine points as Jim Ned roared from behind for a 44-28 victory Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
“We can’t score nine points in a half and expect to win many games,” Hohertz said. “I told them at halftime we needed to clean up our turnovers and we didn’t do that. We didn’t take care of the ball and you have to give Jim Ned credit because that’s what they do. But we still have to take care of the ball, and we have to hit shots in the second half.”
The Lady Lions trailed 13-9 after one quarter, but outscored Jim Ned 10-2 in the second period — holding the Lady Indians without a point over the final 6:02 of the first half.
“We came out and didn’t have any nerves,” Hohertz said. “The girls were ready, they fought really hard and they played fairly well in the first two quarters. That was evident by the score at halftime.”
However, Lady Lion leading scorer Keeta Vaccaro picked up four first-half fouls, while starting point guard Ashley Vaccaro played despite suffering from a knee injury and wasn’t at full speed. Keeta Vaccaro fouled out with 2:49 remaining, but by that point Jim Ned had grabbed a 12-point advantage.
“Those two are our 1-2 punch,” Hohertz said. “When Keeta’s not on the floor that hurts our offense. And Ashley played as hard as she could, but she’s not at 100 percent. We have to have those two at 100 percent and always on the floor. But Ashley will get better and Keeta will work on staying out of foul trouble.”
Keeta Vaccaro finished with nine points for the Lady Lions (3-5) trailed by seven from Cherita George and four points apiece from Brooke Montemayor, Ashley Vaccaro and Victoria Henry.
During the Lady Lions’ 10-0 run to end the first half, Keeta Vaccaro scored the first three points, then George drained a three-pointer to even the score at 15. George then scored with 3:51 left in the half to push Brownwood in front, 17-15, and Montemayor scored following an offensive rebound with 1:17 left before the break.
Jim Ned responded with the first 11 points of the second half to open a 26-19 lead with 3:40 to go in the third period, and never looked back.