SAN SABA — With one game in the books, the Brownwood Lady Lions have plenty to work on following Tuesday’s season-opening 55-43 setback to the San Saba Lady ’Dillos.
Brownwood (0-1) was often its own worst enemy as a sluggish night shooting wasn’t helped by a 29-turnover performance, which led to several open looks for the Lady ’Dillos (1-0). And the 55 points allowed is certainly not what first-year head coach Heather Hohertz wanted to see with a renewed emphasis placed on defense this season.
“We definitely came out flat,” Hohertz said. “Our defense wasn’t there. We didn’t get out on the shooters and we didn’t contest any of their shots. “We also turned the ball over 29 times. If you turn the ball over 29 times, you’re not going to win any games.”
San Saba’s effort was paced by Haylee Oliver, who poured in a game-high 15 points. Tarah Crosby chipped in a dozen points, while Nicole Sears and Carlee Cromer finished with eight points apiece. Johna Reaves contributed six points, while Danessa Vasquez and Bianca Zepeda added three points each.
The Lady Lions received a team-high 11 points from Patricia Wilson, while Sara Byrd chipped in eight points. Kelsey Gober and Hannah Mask tallied seven points apiece, Trinity Ansons and Tiara Brown notched four points each and Amanda Gober finished with two points.
Brownwood converted 12-of-15 free throw attempts, including all 10 in the second period, but the Lady Lions got to the line just once in the second half. San Saba, meanwhile, connected on 13-of-16 free throws and 5-of-6 after halftime.
San Saba used a 10-0 run in the first period to seize control, and the Lady Lions never threatened after that point.
A pair of free throws by Amanda Gober gave Brownwood its final lead, 6-5, as Oliver scored at the 2:43 mark to put the Lady ’Dillos in front for good, 7-6. Sears followed with the first of six San Saba three-pointers — compared to one for the Lady Lions — to boost the lead to 10-6 at the 2:21 mark.
Another bucket by Sears, coupled with free throws from Crosby and Cromer, allowed the Lady’ Dillos to establish their first double-digit lead, 16-6, with 59 seconds left in the first period.
Down by eight points, 16-8, after one quarter, the Lady Lions trailed by no more than nine points in the second period and made a late surge to trim the deficit to four points with 23 seconds left before intermission.
Trailing 28-19 at the 1:29 mark, Wilson sank a pair of free throws, then Kelsey Gober converted a traditional three-point play as she was fouled after pulling down an offensive rebound.
But Oliver drilled a pair of free throws for San Saba with eight seconds left in the half, which gave the Lady ’Dillos a 30-24 halftime edge.
To start the second half, buckets by Byrd and Ansons kept the Lady Lions within four points, but another three-pointer from Sears pushed San Saba’s lead to 35-28 at the 5:25 juncture and signaled a shift in momentum.
San Saba pushed the lead back to the double figures at 40-30 on a bucket by Cromer, but Brown answered for the Lady Lions at the 1:43 mark. The Lady ’Dillos, however, tallied four more points before the quarter ended to take a 44-32 edge in the fourth period.
The Lady Lions trailed by as many as 16 points in the final stanza, 50-34, before a deuce by Wilson and the lone three-pointer from Mask shaved the deficit to 50-39 with 4:32 remaining. Brownwood could get no closer, however, as Zepeda drained her only shot of the night — a three-pointer — to stretch the lead back to 14 points, 53-39, with 3:11 left.
Brownwood will attempt to bounce back and gain its first victory of the season at 6:30 p.m. Saturday when it visits Comanche.