In their fifth appearance in a Region IV title game, Thorndale fell to Snook 40-39 in the final seconds, just missing out on a trip to the state tournament.
The Lady Dogs finished the season with a 26-10 record.
The team reached the regional finals in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012, with its lone state tournament trip in 2008.
The Lady Jays (24-11) repeated as regional champions during the tournament held at New Braunfels Canyon High School’s Cougar Den Friday and Saturday.
Snook reached the game by defeating No. 9 Port Aransas 43-35 in semifinal action Friday. T horndale defeated No. 4 Falls City 43-29 in the other regional semifinal on Friday.
The Lady Dogs were ranked No. 23 and Lady Jays were unranked— yet they were the last two teams standing in the region.
Snook is set to face Martin’s Mill at 10 a.m. Thursday in the UIL Class A state semifinals at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. The 8:30 a.m. Thursday state semifinal will see Dallas Triple A Academy (28-5) and Smyer (32-6). The state title game will be played on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
It came down to free throws as Snook’s Chastity Howard was fouled by Thorndale’s Alix Hoffman with 3.5 seconds remnaining in the season.
Howard sank the first one, but missed the second.
Lady Jay senior Shakera Barnes battled for the rebound long enough that when Thorndale got control of the ball it was too late to get the pass off down the court for a last second shot and their season and 14-game winning streak came to an end.
Thorndale led just 28-27 after three quarters, but Snook’s allstate guard Barnes put the Lady Jays’ fate in her own hands, or feet rather, pushing them ahead with just five minutes remaining.
The Lady Dogs had no answer for Barnes’ speed down the court, or for the entire Lady Jays’ speed on its roster.
“She (Barnes) is probably the best player in the state, she was there last year and is a big time player,” Lady Dogs’ head coach Bradley Dickerson said. “Her quickness is as good as they come.”
“l pretty much told her ‘be the star that you are,’” said Snook Coach Micah Milliorn. “She took that on her shoulders. She’s a winner, and winners want the ball.”
Snook would not lose the lead until Butterworth’s money shot.
Barnes scored nine of her 20 points in the final quarter.
The two teams were tied at the end of the first quarter 7-7, but Snook hit crucial free throws to lift them to a 16-13 lead at the break.
The Lady Dogs was taller than Snook at ever position.
Barnes and fellow senior Miya Hoskins were playing in their third straight regional final.
Thorndale was led by senior Olivia Atkins with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
She is one of nine seniors on this year’s Thorndale squad. Other seniors are Charity Tatroe, Marlene Hall, Kristen Butterworth, Heather Butterworth, Shelby Pausewang, Iris Leyendecker, Lizzie Marr and Tamicka Cook. They are a special group to Dickerson.
“They have been a really good group. They have played in lots of summer leagues, gone to camps and put in lots of hard work,” Dickerson said. “I thought we had a great season.”
To reach the regional title game, the Lady Dogs had to outlast No. 4 Falls City on Friday. Thorndale struggled early but managed to win 43-29 over the Beaverettes.
The Lady Dogs trailed 12-4 at the end of the first quarter, but took control of the rebound battle managed to tie thigs up at 19-19 at the end of the half.
Thorndale held Falls City to just 10 points in the second half.
Atkins led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds.