LEANDER — A playoff loss can be a tough pill to swallow.
Unfortunately for the Salado Lady Eagles on Tuesday night, they were forced to have to deal with just that, as they were defeated by the Wimberley Lady Texans, 55-36.
But it is a taste Salado head coach Diane Konarik hopes the Lady Eagles remember moving forward.
“Not many teams go out and can play this extra week,” she said. “We got an extra week out of it, and a lot of them were sent home after that last game, and I just told them I want that taste in their mouth. I want that playoff in their mouth, so that they know what to be hungry for, for next year.
“It doesn’t start in October, it’s got to start now. Season’s over with, but we’re starting again.”
Although they had a rough second half that saw Wimberley capture a 36-21 advantage to win by 19, the Lady Eagles played tough in the first half.
After the Lady Texans scored the first six points of the game and took an 8-4 lead into the second period, they continued the momentum by scoring six of the first eight points of the stanza. But Salado got on track and outscored Wimberley for the remainder of the half, 9-5, to pull to within four, at 19-15, at the break.
Kerrigan Hearne led the Lady Eagles at halftime with all eight of her points for the game, and she also added two rebounds to her ledger.
But in the second half, the Lady Texans took control. After Salado’s Sarah Kate Kelarek opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer from the right wing to pull her team to within one, Wimberley went on a 14-1 run to take a 33-19 lead, and they never looked back.
Salado’s Gema Vitolas finished the night with eight points and three rebounds, while Payton Dreitz registered seven points and four rebounds. Taylor Lowrance added six points and two rebounds, and Kelarek pulled down six boards.
Lexy Jones led the Lady Texans with 17 points and four boards, and Maengel Gonce collected 11 points and eight rebounds. Post Maggi Linker recorded five points, but was an absolute force on the glass with 15 rebounds.
Konarik said the Lady Eagles could have kept it close with better free-throw shooting and more discipline defensively, but it just did not happen.
“That was a tough one,” Konarik said. “I think it would have been a different ballgame. It would have been a closer one. We were only down by four points (at halftime).”
Salado was 16 of 29 from the free-throw line and committed 25 turnovers, while Wimberley was 16 of 28 from the charity stripe with 24 turnovers.