Mason Cowgirls lock down Goldthwaite in regional quarterfinals

Mike Lee
Special to the San Angelo Standard-Times
Mason High School's Tristin Keller is defended by a Muenster player during the UIL Class 2A girls basketball state semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Friday, March 6, 2020.

LAMPASAS — There’s no telling what the No. 7-ranked Mason Cowgirls might accomplish if they ever get their entire team on the basketball court at the same time.

Mason beat District 29-2A rival Goldthwaite 40-22 Thursday night in a Region IV-2A quarterfinal girls game despite still missing 5-foot-11 forward McKenzie Cano and with Lauren Olson, another 5-11 forward, on the bench most of the night.

The Cowgirls, who tied San Saba for the district title this year despite having their top five players available for only three games all season, improved to 20-5. Mason advanced to play Snook in the regional semifinals at 5 p.m. Saturday at Georgetown High School.

Goldthwaite, the No. 4 seed from District 29-2A that knocked off Falls City and Port Aransas in the first two rounds of the postseason, finished 14-13. Thursday was Goldthwaite’s third loss to Mason this season, following district setbacks of 56-47 and 50-33.

Cano, out for an extended stretch with a medical condition, was hoping to be released in time to play Thursday. Instead, she watched from the Mason bench and didn’t play. Olson was limited to four minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, and she eventually retired to the bench frustrated in the second half without scoring.

But the two-time defending Region IV-2A champion Cowgirls simply did what they’ve done all season: Plug in another player and go on about their business of winning.

“We don’t really have a starting five,” said junior guard Tristin Keller, who scored 16 points Thursday while playing some at guard, forward and even post. “When one person goes out, everybody on our team can come in and do something. We all know how to mix it up and get on it. We’re all one unit.”

To Keller’s point, forward Kylie Cockerham and guard Aunnecy Elliot combined for nine points during an 11-0 second-quarter run that broke a 6-6 tie and gave Mason a 17-6 lead with 1:41 left before halftime.

Just after halftime, Mason forward Allice Guice made two 3-point shots in a 2:09 span that stifled a brief Goldthwaite rally sparked by a four-point possession. Guard Emma Grebe’s driving layup pulled the Lady Eagles within 23-14 with 5:12 left in the third quarter, but that’s as close as they got.

Elliot joined Keller in double figures for Mason with 11 points.

Goldthwaite, which was facing a height deficit, was never able to take advantage of the absences of Cano and Olson — primarily because Mason’s defense kept the Lady Eagles pushed outside and shooting from the perimeter.

“When Olson went out, we put five really quick players on the floor, so I knew our defense was going to be OK,” Mason coach Jeff Guice said. “We moved Tristin Keller into the post, put Brooke Stockbridge in at guard and just continued to run our base offense.

“Our defense made the difference tonight. We held them to eight points in the first half. The five we had on the floor are small, but they’re quick and athletic, and they kept Goldthwaite in front of them. We didn’t give them many good looks,” Guice said.

The Cowgirls limited the Lady Eagles to 24% shooting (8-of-34) from the field. Goldthwaite relies heavily on 3-point shooting, but made just one 3-pointer on Thursday — and it came in the final 45 seconds.

The Lady Eagles had made six 3-point goals in each of their playoff wins, but on Thursday, no Goldthwaite played scored in double figures. Forward Logyn Rountree was the Lady Eagles’ leading scorer with six points.

“Defensively, we held them to what we wanted to with 40 points,” Goldthwaite coach Angie Hermesmeyer said. “We just had trouble scoring. We didn’t hit our shots when we needed to.”

Regarding not being able to exploit the absences of Cano and Olson, Hermesmeyer said, “We weren’t aggressive enough. We didn’t take it to them, and we didn’t shoot enough free throws.”

Twenty-two turnovers also prevented the Lady Eagles from gaining any momentum.

“Our quickness had something to do with their turnovers,” Guice said. “Offensively, we got going in the second quarter when we started attacking and going north and south instead of east and west. We drove the ball, made some baskets and got to the free-throw line.”

Mason 40, Goldthwaite 22

Mason    4    13    16    7 —40

Goldthwaite    4    4    10    4 — 22

MASON — Tristin Keller 5 3-4 16, Allie Guice 2 0-0 6, Kylie Cockerham 1 4-4 7, Aunnecy Elliott 4 3-7 11, Totals 13 10-15 40.

GOLDTHWAITE — Emma Grebe 2 0-0 4, Maggie Tupin 0 1-2 1, Logyn Rountree 3 0-0 6, Jasmine Balencia 1 2-2 5, Britni Roberts 1 0-0 2, Hope Hermesmeyer 1 0-0 2, Totals 8 5-10 20.

3-point goals — Mason 4 (Guice 2, Keller, Cockerham); Goldthwaite 1 (Balencia). Records — Mason 20-5, Goldthwaite 14-13. Next game — Mason vs. Snook in Region IV-2A semifinals at 5 p.m. Saturday at Georgetown High School.