The Lady Huskies threw a scare into No. 5 Stephenville before the Honeybees dominated the fourth quarter for a 51-39 bi-district title win in Mineral Wells Friday.
Hirschi didn’t play like a fourth-place district finisher.
At 6-14 on the year, Hirschi didn’t appear to be much of a threat on paper against the 20-2 Honeybees, who have spent the season ranked among the state’s top ten teams, but the basketball court was a different story.
Not to take away from Hirschi’s outstanding defensive effort, but the Bees were their own worst enemies at times as they opened the first quarter with several turnovers and missed shots.
With the score tied at 3-3, Stephenville had the same number of turnovers as they made points on the scoreboard, and the fans courtside were starting to look a little uncomfortable when Hirschi took a one-point lead (6-5) with 3:33 left the in the first period.
As Coach Jason Hodges has pointed out several times this season, he just needed one of his players to step up and ignite a rally, and Mya Wilson fit the bill as she rolled off six points and laced a bounce pass into Alee McClendon for an assist.
“We knew they were going to hold the ball a little bit and be very patient in their offense,” Hodges said. “We didn’t do a good job blocking out tonight, which got them to the free-throw line quite a bit, and they made their free throws, and we didn’t.”
McClendon found herself surrounded inside the paint as the Lady Huskies’ game plan was to deny her the basketball. Double-teaming the post also led to fouls, and McClendon got sent to the line three times after being hammered while shooting.
Landri Withers and Mya Wesley got their first buckets of the night in the first frame as the Bees held a 14-9 advantage.
Things didn’t get any smoother in the second quarter, but this time it was Wesley who kept the Bees on track with seven of Stephenville’s 14 points.
Wesley’s three-pointer at the buzzer made it a 28-19 game, but the contest was a lot closer than the score indicated, and the Bees shooting just 50-percent at the free-throw line didn’t bode well with Hirschi hitting 8-of-9.
“We jumped out in the second half and got on them, but they didn’t quit. If you look at a lot of their scores Hirschi has been in every single game, Hodges said. “Their defense is pretty solid, and we didn’t block out, and that’s something we have to fix before Tuesday night.”
Hirschi’s good fortunes at the charity stripe continued in the third quarter as the Lady Huskies went 4-of-5 at the line and had a 12-7 run that left them down by just four points, 31-1.
As they have done many times this season, the Bees regained their composure in the fourth quarter as Withers and McClendon paced a 16-8 final eight minutes.
Withers 14 points led all scorers while McClendon had 13, Wesley 12, Mya Wilson 7, Matthews 3, Jade Wilson 2.
Stephenville (21-2) will return to Mineral Wells to face the Bridgeport Sissies (19-8) in the area round of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m.