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Lady Brahmas headed to state tournament

By MIKE FORMAN
Feb. 22, 2014 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 21, 2014 at 8:22 p.m.


SEGUIN - An opposing District 28-2A coach told Hallettsville coach Amy Powell that her team needed to learn to play defense.

Powell made sure to relay the message to her players after the district meeting.

"We've kind of taken that to heart," Powell said. "We took it personal. We didn't want anybody to say we couldn't play any defense; we're an offensive powerhouse. We can play defense. Our girls can play defense, and they showed that."

The Lady Brahmas' defense has never been better than it was in the fourth quarter of the Region IV-2A final.

Hallettsville held San Antonio Cole without a point in the final quarter until 1:43 remained and ran off with a 70-53 win Saturday at the Seguin gym.

"I kept telling the girls in the huddle, 'This is our game. This is our game,'" said junior Emma Wick. "In the fourth quarter, when we were up by 15, it started to become closer and closer to reality. When that buzzer went off, it became a reality, and we're state-bound now."

The Lady Brahmas were making their first appearance in the regional final since 1961 and became the first girls basketball team in school history to advance to the state tournament.

Hallettsville will take a 34-3 record into Friday's semifinal, which will be played at either 8:30 or 10 a.m. at the Erwin Center in Austin.

"We knew we had to play defense," said senior Heather Henneke. "That was the very big thing against Cole. They're quick; they're very quick. We knew we had to keep up with them, and we knew we had the energy because we have been practicing and running nonstop. It helped being able to keep up with them and score against them. We made them tired."

Hallettsville never led by more than five points or trailed by more than three through the first three quarters and took a 49-45 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Brahmas scored 16 straight points to start the fourth quarter in what was an 18-0 run to break the game open.

"Defensively, we knew there were some girls we really had to stop," Powell said. "We really had to sag and help, and when we did that better in the second half, we felt like they had a hard time making easy baskets."

Delesia Booth led the Lady Cougars (38-2) with 18 points but scored only two points in the second half.

"We made a couple of adjustments defensively on who was guarding who," Powell said. "We adjusted Heather (Henneke) over to No. 22 because we really thought she hurt us in the first half. We thought Heather's length might give her some problems. Honestly, it didn't look like they tried to get her the ball as much as in the first half."

Cole went without a field goal for a 10:26 span of the third and fourth quarters, during which Hallettsville outscored the Lady Cougars 24-4.

"When they go to drive, we wanted somebody in there to help, and our guards were able to pick up some steals that way by just getting their hands on the ball," Powell said. "I think they got a little frustrated there at the end and were throwing up some shots they normally may not take because of that."

Wick led the Lady Brahmas with 21 points, and many of her points came on mid-range jumpers or drives to the basket.

"Coach Powell constantly reminds me that I'm quick, and if she wouldn't tell me that, I wouldn't do that," Wick said. "But she says that there aren't a lot of people who can guard me with my quickness and ability to get around people. She constantly puts the confidence in me, and I just finish the shot."

Hallettsville was also strong in the post with Henneke scoring 18 points, Cassidy Targac 13 and Kasey Hairell 9.

"We really worked on post entry in practice the last couple of weeks," Powell said. "We felt like our posts early on weren't getting good seals and good positions down low on the block. Our lob passes were a little flat, but they were giving us the lob pass. We feel we have really good post players. Our deal was shoot it high, and we're going to have a post player clean it up on the other side, and in the second half, we did that."

Hallettsville did exactly what it needed in its fourth appearance at the regional tournament to ensure a trip to the state tournament would become a reality.

"We knew they were going to be really physical, so we knew we had to come out and match the physical defense," Targac said. "We came out, we played, and we shut them down."

Hallettsville 70, San Antonio Cole 53

HALFTIME: Hallettsville 35, San Antonio Cole 34

POINTS: Hallettsville, Imari Grant 2, Danisha Silgero 3, Emma Wick 21, Kasey Hairell 9, Cassidy Targac 13, Heather Henneke 18, Kaymee Howell 4. San Antonio Cole, Cara Taliaferro 8, Patience Gitau 12, Dalesia Booth 18, Makayla Rogers 2, Jalen Gomez 13.

3-POINTERS: Hallettsville, Danisha Silgero 1. San Antonio Cole, Cara Taliaferro 1, Dalesia Booth 1, Jalen Gomez 3.

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