STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
One Burnet High School basketball team is moving on as the other squad’s season ends.
The Lady Dawgs (29-7 overall, 8-2 District 24-4A) crushed El Campo (32-3, 12-0 District 25-4A) 67-43 during a regional quarterfinal game in Smithville, while the Bulldogs (19-14, 5-5) fell to Boerne High School (24-11, 9-1 District 28-4A) 49-41 in a bi-district championship.
The Lady Dawgs now prepare to face Beeville Jones in the Class 4A Region IV semifinals on Friday, Feb. 22, at the Steinke Physical Education Center on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus, 700 University Blvd. Tipoff is 8 p.m.
This is the fifth time in program history the Lady Dawgs will play in the regional tournament.
“As a coach, it means so much more to me than it does to the players,” head coach Rick Gates said. “But … it means so much to the players because they understand what it takes. To have a team like that is something special.”
For the Lady Dawgs, the scoring floodgates finally opened late in the third quarter against El Campo.
With the score tied at 38-38, Burnet senior guard Paris Brinkley drove to the basket for a layup then senior guard Emma Lewis hit a corner 3-pointer to give the Lady Dawgs a 43-38 advantage headed into the final period.
That trey was the first of three consecutive long bombs for Thompson, who quickly gave Burnet a 47-38 advantage.
The only point El Campo could muster in that timeframe came on a free throw. By the time El Campo called a timeout, the Lady Dawgs led 56-39 in the fourth.
After Burnet came out of the timeout, senior guard Hattie Blair was fouled on a successful layup. She completed the three-point play. Senior post Kathleen Fipps then added a left-handed shot for a 69-39 lead.
As El Campo coach Gabe Villarreal called a timeout, he shook his head. The Lady Ricebirds had no answer for the Lady Dawgs.
“All year long we’ve been a good second-half team,” Gates said. “We relaxed and played smoother and better basketball.”
Each team matched each other point for point throughout the opening quarter before El Campo edged out to a 15-13 lead by the end of the first.
Brinkley tied the game at 16-16 on a three-point play at the beginning of the second period to continue the scoring trend. Burnet senior forward Trynadee Greenwell scored 15 of her team’s overall points to give the Lady Dawgs a 30-29 advantage at the half.
“I’m so proud of the girls for hanging in there,” Gates said. “It seemed like we were going back and forth. We gave up some easy buckets, but we were able to score with them.”
Brinkley and Lewis each had 17 points followed by Greenwell’s 15. Blair and sophomore guard Gracyn Bennett each had five points.
“A lot of times, game by game, these girls stepped up in different situations,” Gates said. “Couldn’t be more proud of these young ladies and how they find a way to win.”
In the boys game in Johnson City, the Bulldogs had a strong start against the Greyhounds. Sophomore guard Luke Kiser began the scoring with a 3-pointer followed by two free throws from senior Jud Roy and two more from sophomore post C.J. Greenwell for a 7-0 lead, forcing Boerne into a timeout.
The Greyhounds trimmed the deficit to 9-8, but the Bulldogs went on a 6-2 run for a 15-10 lead after the first quarter.
Boerne outscored Burnet 14-9 in the second quarter and tied the contest at 24-24 at the half thanks to a bucket by senior forward Hunter Isenhart at the horn.
The back-and-forth continued throughout the second half. C.J. Greenwell nailed two free throws, while Kiser hit one in the final 3:14 of the contest to trim the deficit to 39-35. That was as close as the Bulldogs got.
The Greyhounds outscored Burnet 11-3 with 11 of 14 free throws in the final 92 seconds of the contest.
Head coach Roy Kiser noted his team had too many empty offensive possessions without points to stay with the Greyhounds.
“It was only a three- to five-point game, even at the end, but it seemed like more because we didn’t hit any shots down the stretch to give us a chance to even it up,” he said. “With the exception of a number of backdoor plays, I thought our defense was good enough to win by holding Boerne to forty-nine points, but we just had too many offensive stretches of missed shots and turnovers.”