By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS - The Gatesville Hornets have been without their best player since the third game of the season.
They made sure Tuesday night that Lampasas' top gun didn't get the better of them on the road.
Gatesville rallied from a double-digit deficit, taking the lead in the fourth quarter and holding off the Lady Badgers 40-39.
Kayla Prescott led all scorers with 20 points for Lampasas (3-12), but only six came in the second half.
Gatesville (7-5) used different players, but had a body shadowing the all-district guard the entire night.
"You just try not to let her touch the ball," said Gatesville senior Hannah Nolte, who along with Daija Ward and Sarah Latham, defended Prescott. "That was our thing - once she got rid of the ball, our job was to just face-guard her and not let her touch it again."
Even with the Hornets in her face, Prescott quickly asserted herself early, getting to the basket and hitting her free throws when sent to the line.
She made a layup to put Lampasas up 19-11 with 3:59 left in the second quarter, but missed the ensuing foul shot on the three-point play. Lampasas corralled the loose ball, however, and Prescott hit another in the lane, stretching the Lady Badger lead to 10 a second time.
"We wanted - going into the game - to switch defenses a lot. That didn't work," Gatesville head coach Chris Carroll said. "We played poorly coming out of the gate."
Lampasas' lead was six at halftime, but then the game changed in Gatesville's favor.
The Lady Badgers turned the ball over five times in the third quarter and scored three points. Nolte hit a free throw with 4:12 left in the quarter, starting a 5-0 Hornet run highlighted by two Diamond Moore steals and layups on the other end. The second tied the game, with Prescott hitting a free throw to stop the run and put Lampasas back up 28-27.
Lampasas opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run, only to see Gatesville answered with seven straight to tie the game with 2:30 remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Julie Mize hit two free throws for the Lady Badgers. But that was their last lead.
A minute later, Gatesville Kaitlin Poe, who missed her first eight shots from beyond the arc, came through with a 3-pointer, putting the Hornets up 37-36. Lampasas called timeout, only to turn the ball over and watch Ward sink two free throws to put the Hornets up 39-36.
"There were two or three plays down the stretch that we just didn't play smart," Lampasas head coach Stuart Beckwith said.
After trading foul shots, Lampasas did get one final chance as a Prescott layup with 15 second left pulled the Lady Badgers to within a point (40-39) and she was fouled and sent to the line with three seconds on the clock. She missed both shots, though, as Truss, who scored 14 points for Gatesville, came down with the rebound on the second.