The North All-Stars surrendered the game’s first 13 points and didn’t score until 5:32 passed in the 10-minute opening quarter. But by the end of the FCA All-Star Festival Girls Basketball Game at the Brownwood Coliseum Saturday, the South had lost a double-digit advantage — and the game — as the North stormed back for a 38-32 victory.
Down 13-0 early, the North closed the gap to 13-8 by the end of the first period and 22-19 at halftime. But the turning point came in the opening moments of the second half as the North received six consecutive points in the paint from MVP Monica Driscoll of Clyde to take the lead, 25-22, and never trailed again.
While the North shot just 24 percent (5 of 21) from the floor in the second half, they limited the South to 11 percent (4 of 37) shooting over the final two quarters.
Leading 31-27 after three quarters, neither team lit up the scoreboard in the fourth period until the North’s Ashlyn Bevel from Haskell sank a free throw with 4:54 to go.
The North opened its largest lead of nine points, 38-29, with 2:41 left on a trey by Kendall Houston of Abilene Christian, who led all scorers with 11 points.
Also contributing on the offensive end for the North were Elyssia Esquivel of Abilene High with four points, Albany’s Abbi Beard and Stamford’s Taylor Beeson with three apiece; Breckenridge’s Kayle Roberts, Merkel’s Kami Pursley, Cisco’s Hallie Taylor, Abilene’s Baylie Lindsay and Bevel with two points each; and Hamlin’s Abigail Zeller made a free throw.
Driscoll also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, with five coming on the offensive end.
For the South, Early’s Lauren Jesko led the way with six points, sinking a pair of three-pointers.
“I hate going out with a loss, but this was a great experience and a hard-fought game,” Jesko said. “For the most part I felt pretty good about the way that I played. I had some unnecessary turnovers and was kind of rusty, but this is it for me.
“It’s definitely sad but it’s also cool because I’ve never played in the Coliseum before. It’s a cool experience because I come to a lot of Howard Payne games and I got to play on the same floor they do.”
Behind Jesko, Goldthwaite’s Rylie Padgett contributed five points trailed by Jim Ned’s Ryan Bush, Wylie’s Claire Allen, Wall’s Karley Pettiet and Wall’s Myia El-Masn with four apiece; Brady’s Hallie Colley with thee; and Brady’s Baylee Francis with two points.