Lady Mustangs fight until the end, but Flour Bluff prevails 51-46
STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
SAN ANTONIO — The Marble Falls High School girls basketball team’s season ended Feb. 23 but not without a fight.
Trailing 46-43 to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in a Class 5A Region IV semifinal game with about 30 seconds left, Marble Falls had to foul three times.
Unfortunately for the Lady Mustangs, Flour Bluff senior guard Meredith Marcum confidently hit 5 of 6 free throws to ensure a 51-46 victory for her team. No one wanted to take those shots more than she did.
“She’s the senior and the point guard,” Marble Falls head coach John Berkman said. “She has the ball in her hands for that purpose.”
When the Lady Hornets (35-4) took a 27-20 lead with about five minutes left in the third quarter, they went to their four-corners offense to protect it and control the clock.
They used the same strategy against Marble Falls in their 46-28 win a year go in the same round of the playoffs.
This time, however, the Lady Mustangs (27-11 overall, 13-1 in District 26-5A) were faster to the ball and didn’t allow Flour Bluff to run the clock.
“We were ready for it,” Berkman said. “Our girls were ready to get down and dirty. A year made a huge difference.”
Flour Bluff led by as many as nine points throughout the second half, but Marble Falls refused to go away.
Lady Mustangs senior center Mya McMillian rebounded, drove, and converted every opportunity she had, sometimes fighting through double- and triple-teams.
Senior forward Aubree Adams and junior forward Trinity Boyd hit crucial shots for Marble Falls with few open looks, and sophomore guards and twin sisters Rylie and Kendall Ulbricht had steals in critical moments.
Berkman said his players’ mental toughness showed a desire to compete until the end.
“Players have to understand things are going to happen during a game,” he said. “You have to continue to fight late in the game.”
The two teams matched each other point for point throughout the first half, although Flour Bluff led the whole way.
McMillian scored the Lady Mustangs’ first four points to make it 5-4, but Flour Bluff sophomore forward Maegan Bazen hit a 3-pointer from the left corner for an 8-4 lead.
Adams answered for Marble Falls with back-to-back 8-footers to knot the game at 8-8 at the end of the first period.
Flour Bluff led by five points twice in the second period, but Boyd and Adams wouldn’t let the deficit get bigger.
Boyd scored eight of Marble Falls’s 11 points in the quarter. Adams hit a huge 3-pointer, and Marble Falls only trailed 20-19 at the half.
McMillian led all scorers with 18 points followed by Adams with 15. Boyd added 10, and sophomore guard T.J. Blum scored two.
Bazen led Flour Bluff with 17 points followed by junior guard Hayle Campbell with 10, sophomore forward Gloria Geurin with eight, and Marcum with seven.
Berkman credited his returning players from last year’s team, especially the seniors, for leading the program to its fifth regional tournament in school history. He noted the program had gone through some losing seasons just three years ago. This season, the Lady Mustangs won a share of the district crown and went 3-1 in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
“Extremely proud of this team,” he said. “Our girls have everything to be proud of.”