STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
LORENA — The Burnet High School girls basketball team took a five-point lead against Fairfield and turned it into a lopsided 50-33 victory in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs Feb. 16.
The Lady Dawgs (22-13, 10-2 in District 19-4A) will play China Spring at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Belton High School, 600 Lake Road in Belton, in the regional quarterfinals.
Burnet knew Fairfield featured a pair of posts that wanted to control the backcourt: junior Josey Richarson, who stands 6 feet, and sophomore center Braden Bossier, who is 6-1.
So Lady Dawgs head coach Rick Gates said coaches emphasized three ingredients for a winning formula:
• defensive rebounding to limit second-chance points. The Lady Dawgs scored an 85 percent in this category, Gates said.
“We went into the game telling them how important it was to box them out,” Gates said. “We executed that perfectly.”
• physically wear down the opponent. The Lady Dawgs kept the defensive pressure thanks to a quick trapping defense that began at half court and forced the guards into errors resulting in turnovers and Burnet offensive opportunities.
“They have to work hard to get the ball across half court,” Gates said.
• take advantage of offensive chances. The Lady Dawgs were 10 of 14 in the final period from the foul line and 12 of 15 for the contest.
Burnet was led by senior post Marissa Escamilla, who had 30 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocks. She hit eight of nine free throws in the fourth period and was 10 of 11 for the game.
Gates commended the senior, noting she has battled injuries that forced her to miss nine games this season. He believes that when Escamilla gets the scouting report, she looks at the opponents’ posts and thinks about how they will defend her and accepts that as a personal challenge.
“She has a great competitive spirit,” he said.
He also noted that because the Lady Dawgs bring the best out of each other, they are able to play at a high level, so there’s not a drop-off from the five starters to the reserves.
“I feel confident playing all nine of the girls,” the coach said. “They know their roles, and they execute that to the best of their abilities.”