GATESVILLE — Chris Carroll felt uneasy.

Despite experiencing just one loss all season and being ranked in the top 10 of both state polls, Gatesville’s head coach entered the District 17-4A opener against China Spring apprehensive.

“That is a scary team,” Carroll said. “I believe they have the ability to be one of the best offensive teams in our district. I even told the kids all week long that I picked them to win the district this year.”

The Hornets, however, proved they are contenders as well.

Gatesville trailed by a point with less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter before closing with a fury, recording the final 13 points of the opening half en route to a 47-29 victory.

Following the win, Carroll was pleased with the one-sided performance, but admitted it was far from flawless.

“We started out sluggish offensively,” he said, “but we were able to make some adjustments defensively to take them out of the game, and fortunately, that’s what we’ve been able to do all year long.”

The Hornets scored 10 of the game’s first 13 points before taking a 10-6 advantage into the second period, but China Spring erased the deficit to claim a 13-12 lead.

Then, Gatesville took control.

Hornets junior Allaira Jones scored 10 of her game-high 16 points in the second quarter, and Gatesville (21-1, 1-0) held a 25-14 lead going into halftime before a 13-2 outburst in the third quarter put the score out of reach.

Along with her offense, Jones finished with 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, while teammate Rebekah Nolte, a junior, added 14 points, including 11 in the second half, and Alayna Washington posted four points and seven rebounds.

Ranked sixth in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll and 10th in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, the Hornets look to extend their six-game win streak Friday at Robinson, which is also among the state’s elite. The Lady Rockets are situated 14th and 18th in the TABC and TGCA polls, respectively.

“We’re not talking about how we’re 21-1,” Carroll said. “We’re 1-0, and it is going to be extremely tough to get to 2-0 against another of the top offensive teams in our district.

“We’re going to have to refocus and get better if we are going to go on the road and beat a team like Robinson.”

While Gatesville is having an impressive start to the season, there is little concern the Hornets will get wrapped up in records or rankings.

“I’m happy with where their heads are at,” Carroll said. “These guys have been with me for three years, and they know this district and what is coming.

“We could be ranked second in the state, and from what I’ve seen, every team in this district can beat us if we are not ready to play, but I think we can beat a lot of them if we are focused.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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