GATESVILLE — Defense defines them.
Attempting to survive in one of the most challenging districts in the state, Gatesville understands it must make life as difficult as possible for its opponents.
Friday evening, the Hornets accomplished their goal.
After falling behind by two points, 31-29, early in the fourth quarter, Gatesville increased its defensive intensity and took complete control of the contest, recording 15 of the game’s final 18 points en route to a 44-34 victory.
Following the win, Hornets guard Caitlin Chacon admitted the late scoring surge was merely a byproduct of their defense.
“We like to be aggressive,” she said, “and sometimes we foul a lot because of it, but that is just our energy and effort.
“We give it our all to help the team out, and that is a really big part what we
have to do to be successful.”
In the third quarter, however, Gatesville could not stop Lady Badgers junior Julianna Dwamena.
The Hornets took a 17-14 advantage into the second half, but it was quickly erased as Dwamena, a forward, recorded a dozen of her game-high 19 points in the period, accounting for all but two of Lampasas’ third-quarter points.
Gatesville trailed 28-25 to open the fourth quarter before trimming the deficit to 31-29, and then, the Hornets discovered their rhythm.
Ainsley Warren, a guard, connected on a 3-pointer to give Gatesville its first lead of the second half, and the Hornets never slowed down. The shot began a 9-0 outburst, and Lampasas did not make a field goal in the final five minutes of regulation.
“We just stepped up defensively,” Gatesville head coach Ryan Ocheskey said. “A point of emphasis going into this game was to block out, rebound, get back in transition and not give up layups.
“It paid off for us tonight. Our defensive pressure was tremendous.”
The Hornets finished with three players tallying at least three steals, including Chacon who had four to go with seven points, five rebounds and four assists, helping to force Lampasas into 27 turnovers.
“We were just making lots of little mistakes,” Lady Badgers head coach Mark Myers said. “We just can’t do that and expect to win games against the teams in our district.
“We’ve just got to find a way to play better.”
Dwamena finished with 11 rebounds to compliment her scoring, but teammate Taylor Allen (6 points) was the only other Lampasas player to finish with multiple field goals as the Lady Badgers saw their playoff hopes fade.
For Gatesville, five players posted at least seven points, including Warren, who scored a team-high 11 points to go with four rebounds and three steals. Additionally, senior forward Jenna Coward finished with a seven-point, 10-rebound performance in the win.
Winless in District 6-4A, which sports a pair of top-10 teams, Lampasas (17-7, 0-5) cannot afford a loss Tuesday at home against Brownwood. Following the outing, the Lady Badgers close the regular season with games against No. 5 Stephenville at home and No. 7 Glen Rose on the road.
“We looked at this as a must-win,” Myers said. “Now, we have to win our next one.
“So, Brownwood is basically a playoff game for us.”
Gatesville, on the other hand, is on the verge of securing its postseason berth heading into its bye date after improving to 7-12 overall and 3-2 in district. The Hornets return to action Friday against Brownwood before concluding against the district’s powerhouses.
Regardless of their record, though, the Hornets’ intentions will not change.
“It all begins with our defense,” Ocheskey said. “We have to be ready to play when we come back.”
GATESVILLE 44, LAMPASAS 34
Dwamena 19, Allen 6, Chandler 3, Lovejoy 2, K.Ball 2, Roberts 2.
Warren 11, Jones 8, Chacon 7, Smalley 7, J.Coward 7, Higginbotham 3, Hunt 1.
Lampasas 10 4 14 6—34
Gatesville 10 7 8 19—44
3-Point Goals – Lampasas 2 (Allen 2), Gatesville 5 (Warren 2, Chacon, Smalley, Higginbotham). Free Throws – Lampasas 14-18, Gatesville 11-25. Fouled Out – K.Ball. Total Fouls – Lampasas 20, Gatesville 15. Technicals – None.
Records – Lampasas 17-7, 0-5 6-4A; Gatesville 7-12, 3-2.
6-4A GIRLS STANDINGS
Glen Rose 4-1
- Gatesville 44, Lampasas 34
- No. 7 Glen Rose 54, Brownwood 31
- BYE: No. 5 Stephenville