GLEN ROSE — With the UIL’s addition of a fourth playoff team in Class 3A and 2A sports this season, mismatches sometimes happen.
That proved to be the case in the Region I-3A first-round battle between the No. 25 Brownwood Lady Lions, co-champions of District 8-3A, and the 7-3A fourth seed Venus Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Lions put forth their most dominant defensive effort of the Heather Hohertz coaching era, and likely in program history, as Brownwood cruised to a 61-10 bi-district championship victory Monday night.
“We knew coming in that Venus had gone through a tough year,” Hohertz said. “We talked about that in film last week, and I thought the girls handled the situation well. They didn’t play down to the level of the opponent. They established themselves from the get-go and were making steals and layups all night.”
The Lady Lions (23-6) finished with 24 steals — including nine from Keeta Vaccaro, six from Trejouir Wilson and four from Ashley Vaccaro — as Venus committed 38 turnovers overall.
“Probably 40 of our 60 points came on layups off fast breaks,” Hohertz said.”
Keeta Vaccaro also scored 24 points to lead the way for Brownwood while Wilson added 20. Also getting into the scoring act for the Lady Lions were Alyson Finnigan with six points, Ashley Vaccaro with five, Allie Standridge with four points and Vici Henry with two.
Venus — which sank a pair of three-pointers, one two-point bucket and two free throws — was led by Daisy Quintana with seven points, Peyton Belcher with two and Angel Leal with one point.
The Lady Lions led 17-5 after one quarter, 30-7 at halftime and 46-7 heading into the fourth period.
Venus surrendered the first 28 points of the second half before Quintana drained a three-pointer with 2:14 left to put the Lady Bulldogs into double figures and end their second-half scoring slump.
Brownwood held Venus without a point for a 14:56 stretch from the late second period to the late fourth, as the Lady Lions’ lead grew from 21 points to 51 points during that span.
The Lady Bulldogs had been limited to 12 points twice earlier this season in their district encounters with Stephenville, but Brownwood presented even more problems Monday night.
“That’s our defense,” Hohertz said of Venus’ offensive woes. “We were all over the place and that’s a testament to the girls and how hard they work.”
Offensively, the Lady Lions are averaging 73 points over their last three outings — 21 more points than their season average.
After jumping out to a 17-5 lead after one quarter, the Lady Lions did not convert their first field goal of the second period until just over three minutes remained. However, Brownwood still closed the quarter on a 10-1 spurt.
“We struggled a little bit making a few layups in the second quarter, but we came on in the second half and finished our shots,” Hohertz said. “There isn’t a better time for us to be scoring a lot of points than this time of the season.”
Next for the Lady Lions is either Wichita Falls Hirschi or Mineral Wells, whose Monday playoff game was pushed back to tonight due to weather. The Lady Lions have already defeated Mineral Wells this season, but has not crossed paths with Hirschi.
If Hirschi wins, it will face Brownwood Friday night in either Breckenridge or Albany, according to Hohertz. If Mineral Wells advances, a date with Brownwood is slated for Friday night in Eastland.