Lady Dogs Denied
No. 9 Poth took down the Lady Dogs to earn a trip to the UIL state tournament March 2- 3 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
The Pirettes (28-8) will take on Edgewood in the state semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday. The other semifinal at 8:30 a.m. will see Brock (33-5) versus Tuscola Jim Ned (30-8).
The Class 2A girls state title game is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
No. 6 Thorndale (32-4) shot themselves in the foot with several unforced turnovers, on top of a Poth that ran an effective full court press. The Lady Dogs had 25 turnovers on the night
“Turnovers have been an issue all year against teams that press us. We have been able to overcome but Poth was too good to do that against,” Lady Dogs head coach Bradley Dickerson said. “They have destroyed everyone in the playoffs, scoring 96, 89, 68 and then 51 against us.
Tamicka Cook came off the bench to lead Thorndale with 13 points and three steals. She was followed by Bransom with eight and Alix Hoffman and Marlene Hall with six a piece.
Olivia Atkins had eight boards and three steals, and Hall seven assists.
The Pirettes took an 8-3 lead after the first, but Thorndale stayed with them. Down by one with 17 seconds left in the half, Tamicka Cook came off the bench to score a buckets to put the Lady Dogs up 19-18 at the break.
Poth really broke the game open in the third quarter, coming out firing on all cylinders, taking back the lead for good and putting up 23 points in that frame alone
The Lady Dogs—playing in their fourth regional finals in the past six years—tried to make up the difference in the fourth, but couldn’t catch a break.
Thorndale’s lone senior on the roster, Katy Branson hit a threepointer with just over six minutes remaining that would have cut the lead to six, but was called for traveling on the shot.
That took the wind out of the Lady Dogs’ sails.
“I am extremely proud of these girls. It’s not always pretty, we turn the ball over too much, but the proof is in the pudding. They are fighters and scrappers,” Dick- erson said. “They’ve won every close game they’ve been in this year—they just find a way. True mark of champions. I couldn’t be prouder.
“I think the real story (besides obviously the two good games we played) is the fact that this team went 32-4 and had a 14-0 district championship year. It’s the best record ever for a girls team at Thorndale, first time ever to get past the second round in 2A for a Thorndale girls basketball team and regional finalists,” Dickerson added.
“Two years ago when Thorndale went 2A everyone around here thought we were done for a couple of years. We made it to the playoffs last year with two seniors, a junior and six sophomores,” he said. “We had a chance to win our playoff game. Hempstead went to the regional semi finals and Cameron went to the finals. I think this team has accomplished a great deal. I think they’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations, except ours.”
With Bransom being the only loss to graduation, Thorndale looks to challenge for a regional tournament berth when they drop back to Class A next year after this spring’s biennial realignment.
“Katy has meant a lot to our program. She came to Thorndale as a freshman. It was fun to watch her grow and develop as a player. She had a really good senior year,” Dickerson said. “We do have a lot back. We have a chance to get back there again.
“We have to be willing to work and get better and not just think we are automatically back at regionals. It won’t be free. We will have a huge target on our back and high expectations. A lot will depend on how we handle that.”
Dickerson said the following for the team by fans has been a part of the team’s success.
“ I would like to thank our community and parents who supported us. It’s great to have such support,” he said. “To the fifth man (a group of high school boys who followed us and were our cheerleaders), thanks. All of those things help these girls more than people know.”
In a sloppy semifinal matchup, the Lady Dogs prevailed 37-36 over Marion as Atkins recorded her only basket of the evening after she grabbed a missed Hoffman shot and banked it in with 4.7 seconds remaining.
“I know that our girls are never going to give up, they’re just going to keep fighting and keep fighting,” said Marion Coach Kollyn McWhinney. “It’s unfortunate that we get a stop and they’ve got a 6-5 girl standing by herself for an easy putback.”
No. 16 Marion (32-5) had the ball and the lead with the clock running down with 21 seconds left, but its 18th turnover of the night provided Thorndale with a chance to win the see-saw affair, which changed hands 13 times, including five times in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Dogs actually led 35-31 with 29 seconds left, but a three-point play from leading scorer Kayana Fennell (16 points) and a basket by Cami Davis after a steal provided Marion with a 36-35 lead with 11 seconds left.
Neither team shot particularly well in this low scoring affair, Thorndale at 35 percent and Marion even worse at 27 percent, misfiring on 35 shots.
Cook led Thorndale with 13 points off the bench, while Atkins was limited to four.
|1980||District Runner Up|
|1992||District Runner Up|