SALADO — Barely able to speak with a bad mix of laryngitis and strep, Diane Konarik joked with officials before the game to look out for her stomping.
After the way her team shot the ball Saturday, the first-year Salado basketball coach didn’t have much reason to stomp.
A 19-of-56 performance from the floor and 2 of 11 from the charity stripe doomed the Lady Eagles to a 59-41 beating at the hands of undefeated and fourth-ranked Jarrell.
“This would have told the tale of what’s going to happen in this district if we could have gotten this game,” Konarik said.
“We were making good shots, they just weren’t falling in.”
In a game pitting the top two teams in District 22-2A, it was the powerful Lady Cougars (22-0, 5-0 22-2A), with 6-foot-3 Oklahoma State-signee Brianne Coffman, that flexed their muscles with four players in double figures.
Coffman led all scorers with 14 points and 11 rebounds, followed by 13 points and nine boards from senior guard Rachel Nemec, 12 points from freshman Bree Wright and 10 from senior Margaret Sukup.
Salado (11-10, 4-1) was led with 11 points from lone senior Meredith Ward, while sophomore Jaylee Sebek added nine points, 11 rebounds, and four steals, and junior Ashley Adams contributed eight points and five steals.
“Our game is that transition game, and we did that, our shots just didn’t fall,” Konarik said.
Despite being out-muscled on the boards, losing the rebounding battle 32-24, and falling behind 10-0 over the first two minutes of the game, the Lady Eagles fought back with relentless half-court pressure.
Forcing Jarrell into six turnovers over a span of three minutes, Salado pulled within 21-19 on the heels of a 13-2 run between the final minute of the first quarter and the 6:03 mark of the second.
But Wright followed five straight points from Salado’s Taryn Kornegay with a pair of free throws and Nemec added a 3-pointer from the top of the key to pull back ahead.
A 2-of-6 showing from the free throw line over the final 3½ minutes of the first half didn’t help matters, though, as the Lady Eagles were 0 for 5 the other 29 minutes.
“I think the free throws would have changed momentum if we’d hit them when we needed them,” Konarik said. “When a free throw happened and we missed it, momentum went back to them.”