Through two games in District 8-3A girls basketball action, the Brownwood Lady Lions are alone in first place — and looking like they just might stay there.
Tuesday night at Warren Gym, the Lady Lions followed a 22-point victory over Burnet in their 8-3A opener with a 56-41 triumph over the No. 23 Liberty Hill Lady Panthers.
The win for Brownwood (15-5, 2-0), coupled with Burnet’s 41-34 victory over Gatesville, puts the Lady Lions one game in front of Burnet (1-1 in district), Liberty Hill (13-9, 1-1), Gatesville (9-10, 1-1) and Lampasas (10-9, 1-1) — which will host Brownwood at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Lady Lions’ first 8-3A road outing.
The Lady Lions grabbed 44 rebounds, including 17 on the offensive end, and shot 39 percent overall — but drained 48 percent (19 of 40) of their two-point attempts.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” said Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz, who is attempting to guide the program to its first district championship in her fifth season. “Watching film I knew we were going to have to control the boards and control the ball. We came out and didn’t rebound the ball very well and gave up a lot of three-pointers early, but the kids hung tough and we adjusted at halftime. They responded in a big way, especially on the backside boards when Liberty Hill started missing long shots. Everyone stepped up.”
Defensively, through two district games the Lady Lions are yielding 34.5 points per contest and opponents have attempted a total of four free throws during those two outings.
“One of the keys to our zone is you don’t let them get by you, you keep them in front of you,” Hohertz said. “That’s an advantage to not pressing, they can’t attack the basket.”
Leading the charge for the Lady Lions were Keeta Vaccaro with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, along with three steals; Trejouir Wilson with 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals; Alyson Finnigan with 11 points and six boards; Unique Jefferson with seven points and eight rebounds; and Ashley Vaccaro chipped in four points with three steals.
Liberty Hill received 10 points each from Shelby Whitten and Ashlee Walker, eight from Baylie Bevers, six from Allee Nix, three each from Chelsea Cole and Bella Turek and one point from Bridgett House. Starting post Blair Lord was held scoreless and fouled out.
Unlike their most recent outing against Burnet, in which they trailed by eight points with a minute left in the first period, Brownwood got off to a much better start Tuesday by tallying the first five points.
Brownwood led 12-9 after one quarter, but Liberty Hill took a brief 15-14 lead on a three-pointer by Cole with 6:13 left before halftime. The Lady Lions answered with a 14-3 run to open their first double digit advantage, 28-18, with 1:45 left before half.
At halftime, Brownwood was in front 34-25 and led by as many as 13 points in the third period, though Liberty Hill also crept to within eight points at one.
Leading 43-34 to start fourth, Brownwood surrendered the first two points 42 seconds into the quarter, but Liberty Hill did not score again until 2:37 remained — a 4:55 drought that allowed the Lady Lions to establish a 54-36 edge behind 11 consecutive points.
Though Brownwood slipped out of the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 3A Top 25 this week, the Lady Lions have reeled off five victories in their last seven outings since the Christmas break.
“We’ve gone back to focusing on the small things,” Hohertz said. “We’re keeping our eye on the prize and that’s controlling our own destiny.”
8-3A GIRLS BASKETBALL
W L W L
Brownwood 2 0 15 5
Liberty Hill 1 1 13 9
Burnet 1 1 n/a n/a
Lampasas 1 1 10 9
Gatesville 1 1 9 10
Llano 0 2 5 13
Brownwood 56, Liberty Hill 41
Lampasas 46, Llano 41
Burnet 41, Gatesville 34