LIBERTY HILL — Free throws led to a crucial victory Tuesday, and free throws played a key role in a heartbreaking loss for the Brownwood Lady Lions’ Saturday afternoon.
Liberty Hill sank two free throws with one-tenth of a second left in overtime as the No. 17 Lady Lions dropped a 48-47 decision to fall into a tie for first place atop the District 8-3A standings.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz. “The first part of the first quarter we performed very well, but after that we got away from what we like to do. We definitely made too many turnovers, but that being said if we make two free throws then we win the game. It was right there for us to get, and we didn’t get it.”
Brownwood sank 30 of 44 free throws, and scored all 20 of its second-half points at the line, in a 47-31 win at Burnet Tuesday. Saturday, the Lady Lions converted only 3 of 13 free throws and missed out on a number of opportunities to ice the game.
The Lady Lions led by 12 points, 42-30, with just over six minutes left in the contest, but Liberty Hill closed the fourth period on a 12-0 run to force overtime.
“We were getting a little tired so we were trying to run as much clock as possible,” Hohertz said. “We made our free throws all year and that was what we were going to try and rely on, back it out, take time off the clock and make them foul us. It didn’t work out for us.”
Brownwood also led 47-44 with 22 seconds left in the extra session, but Liberty Hill pulled within a bucket with five seconds left. The Lady Lions were fouled inbounding the ball and went to the free throw line, where they missed the front end of a one-and-one. Liberty Hill grabbed the rebound and a foul was called on the floor just before the clock expired. The Lady Panthers converted both shots on a one-and-one to steal the victory.
Keeta Vaccaro finished with 19 points for Brownwood trailed by 14 from Trejouir Wilson, six from Alyson Finnigan, four from Unique Jefferson and two points each from Ashley Vaccaro and Vici Henry.
The Lady Lions (19-6, 6-1) have three games remaining — at home against Lampasas Tuesday, at Gatesville Friday, and the regular season and home finale against Llano on Feb. 4. Liberty Hill (18-9, 6-1), which played without injured starting post Blair Lord on Saturday, visits third-place Burnet (16-10, 4-3) Tuesday. The Lady Panthers then close district against Lampasas (11-13, 2-5) and Gatesville (11-13, 3-4).
Brownwood still controls its fate in terms of a share of the district championship, and can earn the crown outright with one more win than Liberty Hill down the stretch.