Brownwood finishes in third place at TexasBank Holiday Classic

After suffering just their third loss of the season, the No. 6 Brownwood Lady Lions responded with three consecutive victories — including a 48-38 win over Fort Worth Nolan Catholic Saturday afternoon at the Brownwood Coliseum — en route to a third-place performance at the TexasBank Holiday Classic.

“Nolan Catholic came out and really gave us all they had,” said Lady Lions ninth-year head coach Heather Hohertz, whose squad sits at 22-3 on the season going into the District 5-4A opener at Abilene Wylie on Friday. “They shot the ball really well. I told the girls it was a really gutsy performance, it wasn’t great, but having played four games the last two days it came down to what was left in the tank, and the girls responded.”

Mallory Garcia paced the Lady Lions with 21 points trailed by Sage Cupps with 10, Kenya Barnes with seven, and Ryleigh Dalleh and Taytum Sutton with five points apiece.

The biggest key to the Lady Lions’ victory, however, was altering the defense from Brownwood’s traditional 2-3 match up zone, thanks to Nolan Catholic’s hot shooting from beyond the three-point arc.

“We had to go away from our bread and butter and go to a 1-2-2 and I thought that really threw them off and sealed the game for us,” Hohertz said.

The Lady Lions trailed 12-9 after one quarter and led just 22-21 at halftime, but began to pull away in the second half.

Garcia opened the scoring with a three-pointer then, after Nolan Catholic sank one of two free throws, Cupps drilled a trey as Brownwood pushed its lead to 28-22 with 4:28 left in the third.

Another triple from Garcia stretched the Lady Lions’ lead to 32-24 at the 2:40 mark, but Nolan Catholic refused to go away, closing the gap to 36-32 after three periods.

Leading just 40-38 with 4:18 to go, the Lady Lions held Nolan Catholic scoreless the rest of the way.

Garcia contributed four free throws, Sutton chipped in a pair and Cupps scored in the paint as Brownwood pulled away down the stretch.

On Friday, the Lady Lions eclipsed the 20-win plateau with victories over Millsap and Abilene Cooper at the Brownwood Coliseum.

On the heels of a 49-38 loss to Colorado City in which Brownwood converted just two field goals in the second half, the Lady Lions cruised past Millsap, 65-27, and followed with a 57-24 triumph over Abilene Cooper.

In the opener against Millsap, the Lady Lions led by just 11 points at halftime, 27-16, but caught fire again in the second half.

The Lady Lions, who converted just two three-pointers in the first half, sank three in the initial 2:41 of the third quarter to extend the advantage to 20 points, 38-18. Ryleigh Dalleh, Mallory Garcia and Sage Cupps drained the treys, while Garcia also sank a pair of free throws during the 11-2 run.

Brownwood pushed the lead to 47-21 by the end of the third period, and the Lady Lions allowed just three points in the fourth quarter.

Dalleh paced the Lady Lions with 17 points trailed by Garcia with 15, Cupps with 13, Kenya Barnes with six, Taytum Sutton with five, Hadley Monroe with four, Daisy Green with three and Mya Wallace with two points.

Schnabel led Millsap with 12 points — all in the first half — including a trio of three-pointers.

In the win over Abilene Cooper, the Lady Lions led 10-0 after one quarter and didn’t give up a point over the initial 8:32 of the contest.

Brownwood led 29-11 at the break and stretched the advantage to 45-13 after three periods.

Cupps led the way offensively with 21 points followed by 10 each from Barnes and Garcia, eight from Dalleh, three each from Green and Wallace and two points from McKenzie Welker.

As for Hohertz’s thoughts on the Lady Lions’ performance as a whole over the weekend, she said, “We really struggled shooting the ball, but that is to be expected when you have a five-day layoff with no practice. I thought we bounced back and performed pretty well after the loss. Hopefully we’ll get back in the swing of things, get back to practice and get ready for next Friday.”