LAMPASAS — Jenny Bowden is trying to approach the season one game at a time, but it is getting harder and harder to not look ahead.
After struggling in district and failing to reach the playoffs in each of her three seasons as Lampasas head coach, Bowden is sensing this season could be the year the Lady Badgers end their 12-year absence from the postseason.
Lampasas’ 48-43 victory against Austin Crockett on Tuesday is exactly the type of performance that prevents Bowden from keeping her focus in the present.
“I’m excited,” she said. “If we can keep getting better every game, I’m going to be looking forward to starting district.”
Eight Lady Badgers scored, with six finishing with at least six points as Lampasas used a 16-6 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to build a double-digit advantage before surviving a late surge by the Lady Cougars.
Lampasas (5-2) missed 15 of its 17 first-quarter shots and trailed 12-6 early in the second quarter, but the Lady Badgers turned things around, capturing their first lead at 13-12 on guard Qadrey Tolliver’s layup.
Moments later, Crockett (6-6) reclaimed a one-point advantage, but a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore Nola Bishop, who finished with a team-high 10 points, gave Lampasas a 21-18 halftime lead, and the Lady Badgers never trailed again.
Stacie Olivarez and Jana Sanford combined to score 13 points in the third quarter as Lampasas pushed its lead to 36-29 before the Lady Cougars trimmed their deficit to three points, 36-33, early in the fourth quarter.
Then, the Lady Badgers scored 10 of the next 12 points, including eight unanswered to help secure the victory and snap a two-game losing streak.
“We weren’t in any rush to score,” said Bowden of her team’s late run. “When we ran through (our offense) and were patient, we had a layup or a wide-open shot. I’m just trying to get them to see that (the plays) work if we’ll just be patient, relax and play our style.”
Oliveraz finished just behind Bishop in scoring, posting nine points on 4 of 7 shooting, while Caitlyn Shaughnessy, Alexis Theus, Sanford and Tolliver each finished with six points.
The balanced scoring is another reason Bowden is already anticipating opening District 8-3A play in early January.
“It’s fun when they all contribute,” she said, “because then nobody is down in the dumps. And I think we talked more as a team, high-fiving and everything. … But we will take it one game at a time.”