The Dripping Springs Tigers proved in its 60-35 win over the Medina Valley Panthers Friday that it’s not how you start a game, but how you finish.
An outbreak of emotions on senior night resulted in a slow start for the Dripping Springs Tigers in their last home game of the season against the Medina Valley Panthers.
But Dripping Springs’ intensity showed throughout as the Tigers, which secured a playoff berth on Jan. 31, secured the win to improve to 21-9 on the season.
The Lady Tigers’ intensity was palpable from the jump, as they forced turnovers on five of the Panthers first six possessions. However, this intensity failed to translate to offense, and the Tigers had to rely on free-throws for six of their ten first quarter points.
The second period was a quarter of runs.
Medina Valley was first on the board, only to be answered by a 9-0 blitz by the Tigers. This run was answered with five straight points from Panthers’ guard Jordan Baxter.
Although the Lady Tigers managed to take a 32-23 lead into the half, the momentum seemed to be in Medina Valley’s favor.
“We talked at halftime about just picking it up,” said Dripping Springs head coach Laura Joiner. “We knew we were in control of the game, but I told them, let’s just go make a statement tonight.”
Poor shooting continued to plague Dripping Springs in the third quarter. Medina Valley outscored Dripping Springs 12-11 in the third frame, cutting the deficit down to single digits to start the fourth.
Dripping Springs responded by making a statement as they poured on 28 fourth quarter points.
“It was an emotional night,” said Joiner. “I think there was just a sense of urgency in the fourth. Like I said, this group has a lot of heart and I think that affected them early more than we really want to say, and I think that showed on the court tonight – but the ending also showed the good side of that emotion.”
Despite this offensive onslaught, the highlight of the fourth quarter came with a little over six minutes to play. Up by 20, the Tiger crowd began a “Seniors” chant that was followed with Joiner subbing out all the underclassmen to go with an all-senior lineup to finish the game.
Joiner fought back tears as she talked to the seniors, their parents and friends after the game.
“It’s been a wonderful group,” said Joiner. “They’re all great friends, they all love the game of basketball, and they’ve all worked for four years for what we have achieved and that is to be a playoff team and I am super excited and happy for them that they get to experience that with their teammates while leaving a legacy for the next group behind them.”
Despite all the emotions, Joiner understands the Tigers’ next game against Marble Falls could determine the team’s playoff seeding. Joiner said the Tigers are “in control of our own destiny.”
“We’re gonna go to Marble Falls, pull out all the stops, bring our A-game – our girls are excited, we want to finish in that third-place spot,” Joiner said.