GLEN ROSE — Ryan Ocheskey waited for it to occur.
Taking part in his first postseason game as Gatesville’s head coach, Ocheskey watched as the Hornets let an early advantage dissipate before playing evenly with Waxahachie Life.
Then, it happened.
While clinging to a two-point lead just minutes into the third quarter, Gatesville found its rhythm, blowing the game open with a 19-4 explosion en route to winning the Class 4A bi-district championship 61-38.
Following the victory, Ocheskey admitted it was simply a matter of overcoming nerves.
“We finally just relaxed and played,” he said. “We started playing our game the way we know how to play, and everything just started clicking from there.
“Once this team gets on a roll, they are scary.”
And Hornets junior Allaiya Jones was responsible for thwarting any potential comeback attempts.
The small forward scored 19 of her game-high 21 points in second half, including 14 points in the fourth quarter, and she was responsible for all but two of Gatesville’s field goals after halftime. Additionally, she grabbed a game-high tying eight rebounds.
“She had a huge impact,” Ocheskey said, “and we needed every bit of it.
“It led to our defense improving because we were playing more loose and getting into the passing lanes. Once we relaxed, we just played tons better.”
After giving up the game’s first basket, the Hornets responded with five unanswered points as part of a 14-3 run and took a 17-10 cushion into the second quarter. The gap widened to eight points, 25-17, before Gatesville (22-12) went into halftime ahead 27-21.
The Lady Mustangs trimmed the deficit to 30-28 early in the third quarter, but they would not get any closer.
Ainsley Warren connected on a corner 3-pointer to spark the surge, and the Hornets allowed just one basket throughout the duration of the period as their lead mushroomed to 40-30.
Then, a 9-2 run to begin the fourth quarter essentially secured the outcome.
Gatesville senior Alayna Washington complemented Jones’ outing by scoring 15 points to go with three assists, three steals and two rebounds, while teammate Marlee Ward finished with seven points and five rebounds.
“I believe this team is 11 players deep,” Ocheskey said. “Any one of them can lead the team in scoring,rebounding, assists or any other stat on any night.
“That makes it a lot harder for other teams to gameplan, because they don’t know who it’s going to be.”
With the win, the Hornets move on the area round against Carthage later this week.
“The team’s confidence is high,” Ocheskey said, “but hopefully, it is not too high.
“This was a good win, but we still have work to do. We have to be ready every night from here on out.”
GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Class 6A bi-district
- Ellison 34, Rockwall 17
- No. 13 Harker Heights 51, Rockwall-Heath 39
Class 4A bi-district
- Gatesville 61, Waxahachie Life 38
- Salado 59, Wimberley 49