Brownwood to play five games in 10-team pool play format

The return of the TexasBank Holiday Classic marks yet another first for the Brownwood Lady Lions basketball program, as a girls division of the tournament will be held for the first time Thursday through Saturday.

Ten teams, headlined by the Class 4A No. 6 Brownwood Lady Lions (18-2), will compete in pool play Thursday and Friday at the Brownwood Coliseum and Brownwood High School’s Warren Gym, with the finishers of each pool matching up Saturday at the Coliseum. The tournament championship game is slated for 5:50 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m really excited to host the Christmas tournament,” said Brownwood ninth-year head coach Heather Hohertz, who has guided the Lady Lions to a 189-85 record with two district championships, six bi-district titles and a postseason appearance every year after never before reaching the playoffs. “One, we don’t have to travel and two we haven’t had many home games so this gives people the opportunity to come watch us play if they haven’t seen us play yet this season. It’s a lot of work, but I’m glad (City of Brownwood Sports Coordinator) Roland (Soto) gave us the idea of bringing it back and having a girls division as well.”

The Lady Lions will compete in Pool A along with Abilene Cooper, Brady, Colorado City and Millsap. Brownwood will face Brady at 3:10 p.m. Thursday and Colorado City at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Warren Gym, with Friday games against Millsap at 11:10 a.m. and Abilene Cooper at 7:10 p.m. at the Coliseum. Pool B is comprised of Denver City, Dublin, Goldthwaite, Hereford and Nolan Catholic out of Fort Worth.

“Denver City is a really good team in Region I-4A, and Colorado City is a really good 3A school,” Hohertz said. “Hereford is coming down, a 5A school that’s going to be really competitive. We also have some local schools in it that compete and play hard, so it should be a good field.”

Leading the charge for the Lady Lions are Sage Cupps, Mallory Garcia, Ryleigh Dalleh, Taytum Sutton, Kenya Barnes, Mya Wallace, Daisy Green, Hadley Monroe and McKenzie Welker.

As for the Lady Lions’ objectives this weekend, Hohertz said, “We have to make sure we don’t look like we’re coming off a five-day layoff. We’re going to have to continue to shoot the ball well and defend. We have to get back in the swing of things before we start district on Jan. 5.”

The Lady Lions opened the season with 13 consecutive victories, a program first. Then, after falling to a pair of Class 5A foes, Brownwood chalked up five more wins in a row heading into the tournament — giving the Lady Lions their best-ever record after 20 games.

Still, there is plenty of room for the defending District 5-4A champions to improve, according to Hohertz.

“Our defense is still not very consistent, we have to make sure we’re able to defend each possession,” Hohertz said. “I think our offense has performed pretty well most of the season, we just have to continue to put the ball in the hoop.”

Following the conclusion of the TexasBank Holiday Classic, the Lady Lions immediately jump into district action on Jan. 5 at No. 16 Abilene Wylie.