The Burnet Lady Dawgs got their 12th consecutive win, a 54-36 victory against Lake Belton, to move on to the Class 4A Region III tournament. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Burnet High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams continue in the postseason following wins Tuesday, Feb. 22. The Faith Academy of Marble Falls Flames’ season ended in the second round that same night.
The Lady Dawgs (18-12 overall, 8-0 District 19-4A champions) crushed district foe Lake Belton 54-36 in the regional quarterfinals to punch their ticket to the Class 4A Region III Tournament. The Bulldogs (24-11, 8-2 District 19-4A champions) beat Giddings 49-35 in a bi-district contest to advance to the area round.
The Flames lost to Galveston O’Connell 70-55.
The Lady Dawgs, who are on a 12-game winning streak, now face Huffman Hargrave (25-4, 10-2 District 21-4A runner-up) at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at the Lufkin Independent School District multipurpose facility, 309 S. Medford Drive in Lufkin.
The Lady Dawgs raced to a 13-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, defeating the Lady Broncos for the third time this season.
Going into the contest, head coach Rick Gates and his staff emphasized to their players the importance of not overlooking Lake Belton because Burnet had won both district matchups.
“We told our players not to take them for granted,” Gates said. “We felt like we were the better team and matched them on every level. We felt like we’d be fine because the girls listened and were coachable. They played with intensity and took care of business.”
Burnet outscored Lake Belton 11-4 in the second quarter for a 24-10 halftime lead, which ballooned to 42-20 after three periods.
“We played out the fourth quarter and got our subs in,” Gates said.
Lake Belton focused on limiting Burnet senior guard Sydne Massoletti and sophomore post Zaria Solis offensively. That allowed other Lady Dawgs, such as junior guard Grace Gates and sophomore post MaeSyn Gay, to take advantage of opportunities.
Gates hit three 3-pointers en route to scoring 17 points to lead the Lady Dawgs, while Gay added 14 points. Nine of 14 Lady Dawgs scored.
“We got scoring from other players who chipped in,” the coach said. “Lake Belton did a good job of taking away a couple of players, and a couple of other stars filled in the gaps.”
He and his staff are still watching video on Huffman Hargrave and are putting together scouting reports.
“They have an impressive record,” he said.
Burnet and Giddings matched each other bucket for bucket throughout the first half before the Bulldogs seized control of contest in the second half.
“We played early on like a young team in their first playoff game,” head coach Roy Kiser said. “But when we hit a 3-point shot in the fourth quarter to give us a four-point lead, our defense improved, we got some steals, and the pace of the game changed in our favor.”
Burnet now prepares for a La Vega team that is comfortable playing a fast-paced tempo where buckets come in a hurry or a half-court game where players pass the ball and look for an open player.
“From what I have seen so far they will set a few screens in their half-court offense, but it is a lot of one-on-one after that,” Kiser said.
FAITH ACADEMY BOYS
The contest couldn’t have started better for the Flames, who took a 12-2 lead with 4 minutes 52 seconds left in the opening period. But foul trouble forced the team’s top three scorers to the bench midway through the first quarter.
The Buccaneers took advantage of the situation and went on a 16-2 run to end the first period with a 21-14 lead.
O’Connell led 35-27 at the half and 50-43 going into the final period.
Faith began the fourth on an 8-2 run off of baskets from junior post Brock Davis, senior guard Case Coleman, and junior post Will Lewis.
The Buccaneers called a timeout with 5:03 left as they clung to a 52-51 advantage. After the timeout, O’Connell closed out the game on an 18-5 run.
“This was a game that we knew could go up and down,” Flames head coach Zakk Revelle said. “This was a group that was really fun to watch. All we can ask is that our players play hard and love each other, and that’s what they did. We felt like, if we gave effort and we love each other, it was a successful season.”
Davis finished with 22 points, Coleman added 10, and Lewis had nine.
Revelle reflected on what the seniors have meant to the program, noting they were in the sixth grade his first year on the job. He pointed out that the class compiled a 25-3 district record in four years, including three undefeated district seasons.
“I’ll never be able to pay them back for trusting me,” Revelle said. “I was a 24-year-old educator fresh out of college, and they trusted me. They have a state championship appearance in football, a state championship in track, and made it to the state semifinals (in basketball). They are incredible athletes but are incredible human beings.”