JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BUDA — An early six-point deficit Feb. 17 only fueled the Burnet High School girls basketball team to its seventh bi-district championship in the past eight years.
The Lady Dawgs (18-13, 7-3 in District 25-4A) beat Navarro 52-42 thanks to a 15-1 run to end the first period.
Burnet will face Wharton in the area round of the playoffs at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at La Grange High School, 820 S. Vail in La Grange.
The Lady Dawgs led Navarro 15-7 after the opening quarter and never looked back.
“There’s nothing better than getting that gold ball,” head coach Doug Messer said, referring to the bi-district trophy. “That’s history that follows Burnet teams. I’m including (former head coach Mike) Cavender with that tradition that got started. We’re continuing that tradition. (These Lady Dawgs) know it’s their job to get in there.”
Burnet led by as many as eight points in the first half and 12 late in the fourth quarter.
Messer said the key was making shots against Navarro’s zone.
“We got flat in our shots, and they cut into our post game,” he said. “We finally slowed down and worked a little bit for an easier shot.”
But credit senior guard Afabiana Brooks for turning her steal into a layup to get the Lady Dawgs going. Senior guard Shaylah Hullum added a 3-pointer, then senior forward Miranda Weeks found sophomore center Marissa Escamilla for a bucket to give the Lady Dawgs a 7-6 advantage.
“The seniors are the glue,” Messer said. “They all play their role and play their part. Tonight, they stuck together and made it happen.”
The coach noted Burnet has beaten Navarro in all three playoff matchups. The first was in 2012 when the Lady Dawgs prevailed 56-34 then again in 2015 with Burnet earning a 48-45 victory.
“They were bound and determined not to let us do it again,” he said. “Our kids played their hearts out. You’re always nervous coming into these games. Give a lot to both teams. Both played hard and both played well. We finally got settled down and held them off.”
ON OFFENSE: Escamilla 18, Hullum 9, Pool 6, Weeks 11, Giesenschlag 1, Brooks 6, Skinner 3
RECORDS: Burnet is 18-13 overall, 7-3 in District 25-4A; Navarro is 23-11 overall, 10-2 in District 26-4A.
UP NEXT: Wharton in the area round of the playoffs at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19La Grange High School, 820 S. Vail in La Grange