DUBLIN — Despite converting just six shots in the first half, the No. 15 Brownwood Lady Lions owned a slim halftime advantage over the No. 2 Glen Rose Lady Tigers in Friday night's Region I-4A area playoff. But Brownwood failed to convert a field goal in the third period, while Glen Rose warmed up after intermission en route to a 42-31 triumph over the Lady Lions.
Brownwood led 14-12 at halftime but was outscored 18-5 in the third, sinking 5 of 6 free throws in the quarter to account for its only points.
“We fought hard for the entire game, but we had a rough third quarter and that was the difference,” said Lady Lions' ninth-year head coach Heather Hohertz.
The Lady Lions (29-6) held Glen Rose (33-1), which tallied 94 points in its bi-distict victory, without a point over the first 6:51 of the contest. However, during that span the Lady Lions mustered just two points and led 5-3 after one quarter, thanks to a Ryleigh Dalleh three-pointer with 57 seconds left in the frame.
“We missed some easy shots in the first quarter, but defensively this is probably the best we could have played,” Hohertz said. “We did have some lapses where we didn't communicate, but the defense showed up tonight.”
Trailing 12-7 with 1:42 left in the first half, the Lady Lions answered with their best offensive performance of the contest. Brownwood tallied the final seven points of the half — on buckets by Dalleh at the 1:28 mark and Kenya Barnes with 42 seconds to go, then Sage Cupps drained a trey right before the buzzer to push the Lady Lions back in front, 14-12, at the break.
The Lady Lions were unable to hold on to the momentum, however, as Glen Rose post Ally Andress, who scored nine of the Lady Tigers' 12 first-half points, chalked up nine points in the third period alone en route to a game-high 22.
By the end of the third period, Glen Rose had seized a 33-19 advantage which grew to 14 points on a pair of occasions in the fourth quarter. Brownwood attempted to claw its way back into the contest, creeping with nine points twice — both after a pair of Barnes free throws, the last making the score 38-29 with 2:51 to go.
Glen Rose was able to keep the ball away from the Lady Lions down the stretch, and when Brownwood did foul, the Lady Tigers buried their free throws — and the hopes of Brownwood advancing to the third round.
“They did a really good job of putting us on our heels,” Hohertz said. “We got into foul trouble and weren't aggressive, and they did a good job fighting over our screens and not letting us hang off the ball. We just didn't adjust to it. We talked about it at halftime, but we just didn't do it.”
The Lady Lions shot just 21 percent (9 of 43) from the floor and 13 percent (2 of 15) from three-point range, but drained 73 percent (11 of 15) of their free throws.
For the second game in a row, Barnes paced Brownwood with 12 points trailed by Dalleh with eight. Cupps and Garcia, who averaged a combined 32 points per game this season, were limited to nine Friday, with seven coming from Cupps. Taytum Sutton also chipped in two points.
After the 22 points contributed by Andress, Glen Rose received eight points from Sydney Lozier, five from Breanna Baker, three from Laiken McAnear and two each from Hailey Ibarra and Kashanna Bryant.
Friday's game marked the end of the Lady Lion careers for Cupps, Sutton and Mya Wallace.
“Sage and Taytum have been a real big part of the program the last couple of years and Wallace did some big things off the bench for us, and they'll surely be missed,” Hohertz said. “Taytum's leadership and Sage's scoring, you can't replace that. They all did some really good things for our program and I'm sad to see them go.”
The Lady Lions accumulated a program-best 29 victories in a single season and claimed a seventh bi-district title, Hohertz earned the 200th win of her coaching career and Cupps and Garcia both eclipsed 1,000 points — making them the fourth and fifth Lady Lions to achieve that feat in the last decade.
“Coming into the season we expected to be really good returning four starters,” Hohertz said. “We started the season really well but then we hit a bump in the road around the Christmas break and first part of district. But I thought we rebounded well and we battled the No. 2 team in the state pretty well tonight and that's all that you can ask for, for the kids to play hard and play with great effort and they did that tonight.”