TEMPLE — Temple is still searching for an answer for Shoemaker after the Lady Wolves picked up their second District 8-5A win of the season over the same Tem-Cats squad it beat to open district play in December.
Solid free throw shooting in the fourth quarter was the key for Shoemaker this time around as the Lady Wolves rallied from a six-point deficit in the final period for a 54-53 win Tuesday night at Wildcat Gym.
Shoemaker (5-12, 2-6) made more free throws in the fourth quarter than the Tem-Cats (7-16, 4-4) did in the entire game as a 17-for-23 mark from the line in the final period led the Lady Wolves to the comeback victory.
“Beautiful, that’s the best way I can describe it,” Shoemaker coach Lori Shead said. “We shoot free throws a lot in practice. I try to make them as game-applicable as possible and I think tonight it paid off. Finally our kids understood how to make a shot even under fatigue, even under pressure.
“It paid off for us big time because if it hadn’t been for our free throws, we wouldn’t have won the game. We wouldn’t have stayed in the game.”
Temple missed the production of leading scorer Jazzmen Ortiz., who did not dress for the game and sat on the bench. Temple coach Tamarah Sanders declined comment on the senior guard’s status.
The Tem-Cats shot 39.4 percent (13-for-33) from the line, including a 6-for-13 mark in the fourth quarter as they watched their lead disappear.
After Temple took a 35-30 lead into the fourth, a free throw by junior guard Brittany Minter gave the Tem-Cats a 36-30 advantage with 7:57 remaining, matching Temple’s biggest lead of the back-and-forth contest.
Shoemaker guard Daysha Roberts was fouled shooting a 3-pointer a minute later and made the free throw to convert the four-point play, cutting the Tem-Cats’ lead to 36-34.
Alex Garcia quickly answered with a 3 to stretch Temple’s lead to 39-34 with 6:45 left, but the basket was the Tem-Cats’ last for almost 4 minutes. The Lady Wolves made nine free throws during an 11-0 run for a 45-39 advantage with 3:36 remaining and led the rest of the way.
Temple twice got within three points. Garcia made her third 3 of the game with just under a second left to cut the gap lead to 54-53, but the clock ran out before the Tem-Cats could foul or get the ball back.
“We missed 20 free throws,” Sanders said. “It’s tough because the only two (district) wins they’ve got are from us.”
Temple led 9-6 after the first quarter and stretched its lead to 19-13 in the second before the Lady Wolves came back and led 25-24 at halftime.
Williams led the Tem-Cats with 17 points and seven rebounds while Garcia scored 12 and senior post Tyesha Taylor had 11 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Roberts led the Lady Wolves with 14 points as Shoemaker shot 63.2 percent (24 for 38) from the line as a team. Shadazia Birchette scored nine points.
Shoemaker hosts Copperas Cove on Friday.