by MOSES LEOS III
After 14 grueling district contests, both Lehman and Boerne Champion’s girls basketball teams found themselves in a rather odd predicament; both squads were 7-7, with both teams splitting the season series at one win apiece.
Therefore, per UIL rules, a 15th “tiebreaker” game – a “winner-take-all,” if you will – would be necessary to settle who would move on to postseason play.
The Lehman Lady Lobos put forth a gritty, courageous effort in the 27-4A district tiebreaker on Friday night in Seguin, but the team could not hold down the offensive firepower of Boerne Champion.
Champion bests Lehman 57-55, concluding the Lady Lobos’ 2012-2013 campaign one game short of postseason glory.
The Lady Lobos began the contest on a torrid pace, utilizing strong transition play and adept passing to take a 20-11 lead after one-quarter, the lead padded with a powerful 9-2 run midway through the period.
“We had more transition opportunities in the first quarter, which led to open looks for our shooters,” said junior guard Olivia Marzullo, who finished the game with 13 points.
Things quickly changed in the second quarter, as the Lobos struggled to mimic the same success in the transition game. Champion’s defense was able to adjust to the Lady Lobo’s up-tempo style of play, frequently stonewalling the Lady Lobos from pushing the floor. Lehman would commit turnovers, which gave Champion’s prolific offense extra possessions to work with.
“In the beginning, we ran our transition game really well. Midway through, we started to slow down, as we did not connect on easy passes,” said senior post Ashley Stephens.
As a result, Champion’s offense began to take shape, as their three-point shooters garnered the hot hand. The Lady Chargers would knock down four three-point buckets in the second quarter, eventually turning a nine-point deficit into a four-point lead.
However, a tremendous seven foot jump-shot by Stephens at the end of the first half kept the Lobos within two points at 30-28 going into intermission.
The third quarter would see Champion further pick apart the Lady Lobo defense.
Champion utilized an offense that motioned around the floor at a frantic pace, implementing screens to allow shooters to have open looks. The quickness of the Charger half-court offense created chaos for Lehman, with the team struggling to keep tabs on their defensive assignments.
It would be Champion’s Heather Hormuth who would place the most damage to the Lady Lobo effort on the evening. Hormuth, who scored a game-high 21 points, seemingly found every which way to knock down crucial buckets down the stretch.
Both teams wound up tied at 39 after three quarters, but the Lady Chargers had sole possession of momentum.
As the contest drew to a close, Lehman just could not keep up with Champion’s teeming offense. The Lady Chargers continued to hit shot after shot, while the Lady Lobos could not get shots to fall. Ultimately, Champion built up a sizeable six point lead with four minutes remaining in the game.
Lehman would mount a courageous final charge, aided by a gutsy defensive effort from the team. The Lady Lobos would whittle down the Charger lead to only one possession twice within the final thirty seconds, but could not hit the big shot to surpass Champion.
In the end, two final three-point shots by senor post Ariana Gallegos, who finished with a team-high 15 points, and senior guard Karsholyn Brown would arrive too late. Champion will move on to the postseason, as the Lady Lobos’ season concludes.
“In the first quarter, we transitioned and moved the ball really well. We had a decent second quarter, but we struggled to hit our shots in the third and fourth. We tried to make up the difference, but it was too much,” said Lehman head coach Jamie Coy, who has overseen quite an improvement during her tenure, progressively increasing the win total for the program over the past three seasons.
Despite the loss, the team understood just how much has gone into revamping this Lady Lobo basketball program.
“I’m proud of our season; one of the best seasons in girls’ team history. It is difficult to know that we will not make the playoffs, but I am proud of how my teammates worked this year. How we all worked so hard to get to where we are now,” said a tearful Marzullo.
The 2012-2013 Lady Lobos finish the season with an 18-18 record.