JOHNSON CITY — Diane Hurst had no other choice.
Despite suffering from an illness that robbed her of both breath and energy, Lampasas’ senior knew she had to deliver as the Lady Badgers looked to capture their first postseason victory since 1999.
And she did.
Hurst scored six of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter, helping quell Boerne’s late comeback attempt as Lampasas earned a 51-30 victory and a rare bi-district championship for the program.
Following the performance, which also included eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals, Hurst admitted pulling inspiration from basketball greatness.
“I felt pretty weak,” the post said, “but I had to suck it up for my team.
“I knew Michael Jordan had a flu game, and that is what kept going through my mind the whole game. I had to do this for my team no matter how I felt.”
Entering the game, Lampasas head coach Mark Myers understood the situation with his standout player, but it did not limit his expectations.
“Diane was really sick,” he said. “She was having a hard time even when she was on the bench, but she toughed it out and just really wanted this win.
“She scored from the inside, scored from the outside, and we even played her (on the) wing a couple times just to mix things up, and she always just responded.”
Despite Hurst’s hindrances, the Lady Badgers cruised early.
Lampasas (29-6) dominated the first quarter, scoring the game’s first seven points en route to an 11-1 advantage. The Lady Badgers continued to hold a 10-point lead at 14-4 before Boerne (22-14) closed the half with four consecutive points, including its long field goal just moments before the buzzer sounded to end the period.
The Lady Greyhounds’ run stopped there, though.
Lampasas punctuated a 5-0 outburst with junior Jessica Ball’s 3-pointer, giving the Lady Badgers a 19-8 cushion.
The 11-point lead held with Lampasas taking a 25-14 advantage into halftime behind Kamri Corbin’s six points and five rebounds.
The senior finished with seven points and seven rebounds for the Lady Badgers.
Lampasas’ lead swelled to 36-16, but Boerne worked its way with 13 points, 43-30, in the fourth quarter but could not get any closer as Hurst helped put the score out of reach.
Paige Linney, a senior, added eight points in the win, and Ball finished with seven points as the Lady Badgers advance to play No. 15 El Campo (31-2). The Lady Ricebirds defeated Bellville 59-27 on Monday.
The area-round contest is tentatively set for Friday at Cedar Creek High School.
“They’re a good team,” Myers said, “but I believe in my girls, they believe in what we are doing, and I think we have a really good chance to compete with them.”
Now, with their first playoff victory in the last 20 years secured, Hurst intends to help guide Lampasas to another postseason win against El Campo.
“(Playoff success) should be the norm,” she said. “This shouldn’t be the exception.
“El Campo is a good team with a good record, but if we just play our game and play as a team, then I think we can go all the way to the regional tournament.”