By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Kiara Rawls couldn't explain it because she didn't know what it - a district win - felt like before the Lady Grey Wolves' 64-55 win at Belton on Tuesday afternoon.
It was because of Rawls that Shoemaker all but had its first District 12-5A win since 2009 before halftime, but it was because of her teammates that the Lady Grey Wolves held on when Belton rallied in the second half, snapping a 21-game district losing streak.
"It feels really great. Words can't explain. It's a big win and we've just got to keep on holding it (together) and come out strong for the rest of the games," Rawls said.
Rawls scored 17 of her 23 points in the first half, but LaFaydra Collins scored six in the in the final 4½ minutes of the fourth quarter after Belton cut Shoemaker's once 16-point lead to four.
Collins' putback with 4:38 left pushed the Lady Grey Wolves' lead to six, 57-51 and her layup with 3:15 left gave Shoemaker (7-11, 1-2) a nine-point lead.
Belton's Meghan Braeuer cut the lead to six on a layup with 1:19 left, but the Lady Tigers (6-12, 0-3) didn't score again and Rawls and Cion Hicks each hit free throws in the final minute to ensure Shoemaker's first district win since a
46-41 win over Harker Heights on Jan. 23, 2009.
In addition to Rawls, Collins finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds and five other Shoemaker players finished with at least four points.
"They were really big," Rawls said of her teammates in the second half. "I told them I wasn't going to shoot as much in the second half and I was going to look for them to pass them the ball so they can get points for us."
The Lady Grey Wolves had a roundtable meeting on Monday to discuss what they needed to do after district-opening losses to Harker Heights (62-46) and Bryan (49-42). For an hour and 45 minutes, the team set goals and discussed the importance of free throws - Shoemaker hit just 1-of-19 at Bryan - and getting more points from players other than Rawls.
"It feels great. It feels great and that's pretty much what I told them. I said, 'Enjoy it because it is your first win since 2009,'" Shoemaker coach Shauna Showers said. "Maybe they'll use that as motivation and hopefully it'll work."
Braeuer scored 17 of her game-high 28 points in the second half and led Belton back from a 39-26 halftime deficit to being just five down, 47-42, to start the fourth.
Behind six points from Braeuer, Belton opened the third quarter on an 8-3 run. Torie Henderson, who scored a team second-best eight points, cut Shoemaker's lead to 44-42 on a putback with 1:21 left, but Belton turned the ball over on its last three possessions of the period and the Lady Grey Wolves were able to stretch the lead to five.
Belton won the second half, outscoring Shoemaker 29-25, but a 6-minute scoreless stretch between the first and second quarters and Rawls' five first-half three-pointers had the Lady Tigers playing catch up after taking a 9-7 lead.
Shoemaker finished the first quarter on a 10-0 run and opened up a 24-9 lead after the first of Rawls' three second-quarter 3s. Her third gave Shoemaker a 32-16 lead with 3:49 left in the half.
"We seem to have a tendency of a four-, four and a half-minute stretch that we just let games get away and then we crawl back into it," Belton coach Randy Bell said. "We've got to change that.
"Like I told them, 'that four-minute stretch and offensive rebounds and shooting 4-of-14 from the free throw line in the first half and little things like that, you take care of things like that and you start winning games.'"
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.