A late fourth quarter Dripping Springs Tiger rally fell heartbreakingly short on senior night Feb. 6 as the Marble Falls Mustangs escaped with a 53-52 win.
Although the Lady Tigers didn’t get the win they wanted Tuesday night, they did clinch third place in their district and a berth in the playoffs.
“We lost four district games and each one of them went down to the wire,” Dripping Springs head coach David Norris said. “Games we had opportunities to win, so you know I feel good where we are. Yes we wanted a district title, but you know now this season is over with and its zero-zero, win or go home. So games like this I think couldn’t have been better for my girls to get catapulted into the playoffs.”
Dripping Springs led 21-16 at halftime over Marble Falls, who was first place in district coming into the Feb. 6 matchup. Relentless defense and effort led by the Lady Tigers senior players gave them plenty of momentum heading into the second half.
But the Mustangs took control of the game in the third quarter by doubling the points they scored in the first two quarters alone. The Lady Tigers trailed 34-29 entering the fourth quarter.
“You know, the third quarter we didn’t come out and play a good third quarter like we should have,” said Norris. “They’re a tough team to defend, especially with their bigs inside.”
The fourth quarter was a roller coaster of emotion for Dripping Springs, as they fell behind by 11 points with 5:53 left in the game.
However, the Tigers began to make the ultimate comeback one possession at a time.
The Lady Tigers went to the full court press in the last few minutes of the game, which gave the team life. The Tigers generated several turnovers and converted them into points on the other end.
After two missed free throws from the Mustangs with 29 seconds left in a 51-49 ball game, Norris went with a set play to get senior forward Shelbye Hartman an open 3-point look.
Hartman drilled the shot to give the Tigers a 52-51 lead with only 15 seconds remaining.
“To watch the girls execute a set play at the end and run it to a ’T’ to get a three to go ahead, you know those are the things I’m looking for out of tonight.” said Norris.
But glory was ripped out of the Tigers’ hands when the Mustangs scored with only a few seconds left on the clock for a stunning one-point victory.
“You know I was proud of them for bouncing back,” Norris said on the comeback effort. “This was a good playoff atmosphere, and we need this kind of game going into the playoffs.”
Senior point guard Cassie Louthan, whom fouled out in the fourth quarter, finished the game with 11 points, six assists and five steals. senior forward Danielle Northup also filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, seven rebounds and six steals for the game.