GEORGETOWN — Lometa struggled from the field, but its biggest issue had nothing to do with the play on the floor.
The Lady Hornets made just one shot in the opening quarter and missed 18 of their first 21 field goals before losing to Class 1A, Division II No. 12 Round Top-Carmine 59-27 in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
While the Lady Hornets’ offense abandoned them, especially early, junior Mikhaila Barnett believes her team, which sports seven underclassmen on its roster, including five freshmen, lost the game before ever stepping foot on the court.
“There was more to it than just missing shots,” she said. “It was more that we were scared because of their size, and we didn’t know how to recover from that lack of experience. We were scared and nervous and just couldn’t ever piece it together.”
Lometa (7-17) fell into an immediate 7-0 hole before Barnett scored the team’s only points of the first quarter with less than three minutes remaining. Carmine responded by scoring 17 unanswered points bridging the first and second quarters.
It did not get any better for the Lady Hornets on the offensive end of the floor in the second quarter as Barnett remained the only Lometa player to score in the period, and the Cubettes held a 28-6 lead at halftime.
Things improved in the second half, but the damage was already done, and Lometa head coach Marcus Chapa admitted nerves got the best of his team early on.
“We came out and we were intimidated,” he said. “At halftime, I told the girls that we wear the word ‘Fearless’ on the back of our warm-up shirts for a reason. I told them that they had to make their minds up, go out there and play their best. If we would have played the first half like we played the second half, I truly believe it would have been a different game.”
After receiving no help offensively in the first half, a number of Barnett’s teammates worked their way into the scorebook during the second half, but none tallied more than two points as Carmine (15-2) outscored the Lady Hornets 31-21 following halftime.
Barnett finished with 16 points and six rebounds, but Lometa had no answer for Carmine’s collective height.
“It was like playing against giants,” she said. “It seemed like they were a foot taller than even our tallest girls. So it was a mismatch, and they definitely executed it to their advantage.”
With the victory, Carmine advances to face No. 16 Leggett in the area round.
Despite the disappointing performance, Chapa drew positives from the loss.
“The good thing and the positive thing we got out of this is we are only losing one senior,” he said. “We got all five freshmen on the court, and they were playing hard and gaining experience. They are staying hungry and thirsty for the game, so all in all, this is a great step.”
“We have close to the same district next year, and we are only losing one person from our team — only one,” she said. “The nerves should be cut three-quarters of the way down. Of course, there will always be some nervousness to it, but I definitely believe we have positives coming back next year.”