By BRAD KEITH
(February 7, 2018) — Hico (30-1) has the best girls basketball team around, and perhaps not just in Conference 2A.
The Lady Tigers concluded a perfect run through District 8-3A Tuesday evening, drubbing Santo 56-17 after leading 34-2 by halftime. All five Hico starters Marissa Warren, Lauryl Stegall, Shiloh O’Bannen, Shelby Polk and Sydney Polk scored in double figures.
Hico extends its win streak to 26 games entering the playoffs. The Lady Tigers may learn they are the best team in all of Conference 2A. Or they may learn they are just another squad in loaded Region II of the conference.
Hico knows the route well and head coach Brad Stegall is hoping to see his team finally survive the journey and reach the ultimate destination – the state tournament.
Hico faces Petrolia at 6:30 p.m. next Monday, February 12, at Breckenridge High School. The winner likely gets Era who is 27-1, then it could very well be Windthorst which is 28-1. If Hico can clear the Windthorst hurdle after tripping up there each of the past two seasons, the Lady Tigers will likely meet up with No. 1 Martin’s Mill, which is 32-1.
“If you survive this region you will probably be the favorite down in San Antonio,” said Stegall, who has reached a regional final but never advanced to the state tournament. “Region II dominates the poll, and the top 10 teams that aren’t in Region II are all in Region I.”
Its a rad that no doubt will get tougher as it goes, at least through the five-round regional playoff.
Stegall knows nobody can win Round 5 unless they first take care of bi-district, so the Lady Tigers are approaching the opener as they would any other.
“We just need to be on our game and keep up the havoc defense,” – an aggressive half-court ball-trap – he said. “If we’re getting turnovers and scoring off of them, that gets our offense going. Once both are rolling, we have a lot girls out there who can hurt you.”
A whole starting lineup of them. The best lineup Stegall has ever had, the one he hopes carries Hico, “where everybody is somebody” to the Alamo City, where somebody will win it all.