STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BELTON — Going into its Class 4A regional quarterfinals contest against China Spring on Feb. 20, the Burnet High School girls basketball team had prepared to face an opponent that featured outstanding guards.
For four quarters and one overtime, the Lady Dawgs (22-14, 10-2 in District 19-4A) contained the Lady Cougars (29-8, 10-2 in District 17-4A).
But in the end, China Springs’s guards led the way in a 52-46 double-overtime win to end Burnet’s season.
“They had three good shooters on the floor, two to start the game, and a couple off the bench to shoot it,” Burnet head coach Rick Gates said. “We did a good job of staying on them. But late in the game, we had a couple of defensive lapses. That’s all it takes sometimes.”
The Lady Cougars outscored the Lady Dawgs 10-4 in the final five minutes of the contest.
The game didn’t start that way.
Burnet fell behind 11-7 after the first quarter but only trailed 17-15 at halftime. The two teams each scored 13 points in the third period with China Spring leading 30-28, and the Lady Dawgs got the crucial bucket in the fourth quarter to send the contest into the first overtime knotted at 37-37.
Neither team had an advantage in the first extra period as they each scored five points. But that set up the China Spring offense in the second overtime.
Gates said the Lady Cougars’ personnel limited what Burnet likes to do.
“They’re so guard heavy and guard oriented,” he said. “It was hard to press them in any meaningful way. So we stayed in a half-court defense most of the night. I played our starters more than I normally would.”
Burnet junior guard Emma Lewis had 17 points and senior forward Marissa Escamilla added 14.
The Lady Dawgs finished second in district play and won two playoff games. Gates, who completed his first year as the head coach, said he couldn’t have asked for a better group to start his time leading the program.
“I’m really proud of them,” he said. “I was really impressed with how had they work and how hard they play. They play hard and are coachable.”