GATESVILLE — Chris Carroll is tired of seeing his team literally give games away.
For the second time this week, Gatesville suffered a lopsided defeat, and both losses had one thing in common — turnovers.
In their final home game before the Christmas break, the Lady Hornets produced 41 turnovers and never posed a serious threat after the first quarter as China Spring continually capitalized on the mistakes en route to a 60-21 victory.
After the loss, Gatesville’s head coach admitted there is no hope for improvement unless his players eliminate their sloppy play.
“It is not going to get better if we don’t take care of the basketball,” Carroll said. “We have numerous issues, but at the core of everything is (turnovers).”
On Tuesday, the Lady Hornets turned the ball over 36 times and lost by 36 points, 83-47, to Robinson before eclipsing the total Friday night.
“It is hard to turn the ball over 77 times in two games, but we’ve done it,” Carroll said.
Gatesville turned the ball over on each of its first two possessions against the Lady Cougars, but held a 6-3 lead with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter behind field goals from Corie Tunnell, Kayla McGiboney and Maddi Sims.
Despite committing eight turnovers, the Lady Hornets trailed by only four points, 12-8, entering the second quarter.
Then, everything began unraveling.
China Spring went on a 19-3 run before Sims hit a pair of free throws to provide the Lady Hornets’ final points of the quarter, and Gatesville trailed 31-13 at halftime.
“We couldn’t get the ball (inbounded), they were deflecting balls, and we couldn’t get into our offense,” junior post Brianna Poe said. “It is pretty frustrating. You don’t want to spend the whole game on the defense.”
But the Lady Hornets (7-9) did just that, finishing the game with just 25 field-goal attempts, making 4 of 19 shots during the final three quarters.
Poe’s play, however, was one of Gatesville’s highlights on the evening as she totaled game-highs in rebounds and blocks with seven and four, respectively, to go along with a team-high five points, but it was not enough.
Two Lady Cougars — Ty DeGrate and Mollie Kinlaw — finished with 14 points, while Gatesville scored a total of 13 points as a team over the final three quarters.
Sims recorded all four of her points in the first half, and McGiboney added four points as well on 2-of-3 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.
“We don’t have a lot of depth, we’re extremely young, we don’t handle the basketball well, and we continue to turn it over,” Carroll said. “Our kids play hard, but when you are on defense 75 percent of the time, you are going to get beat.
Gatesville is extremely inexperienced at point guard this season, using several freshmen to help fill a void after losing second team all-district selection Sarah Latham — a senior and four-year varsity player — to a serious knee injury over the summer. Although Latham is expected to return at some point this season, Carroll does not believe her presence alone can reverse the disturbing turnover trend his team is currently experiencing.
“As much as she is going to help us with her leadership and composure, she is not the answer,” he said. “If we are waiting around for her to be the answer then (our already long year) is going to be a lot longer.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com