KYLE – A 19-6 run leading into halftime was a pivotal moment for the Dripping Springs Lady Tigers in a 63-47 win over the San Antonio Wagner Thunderbirds in the 5A, Region IV bidistrict playoff game at Lehman High.
“Our girls fought. At the beginning there were a lot of nerves, a lot of excitement and jitters. You know we tried to get them settled down, the first quarter was just up and down,” said Dripping Springs head coach David Norris. “Then we kicked it in the second quarter and adjusted our defense. The girls relaxed a bit and then we broke away from them.”
After trailing 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Tigers went on to score 20 points in the second frame. Wagner held the lead 16-12 early in the second, but back-to-back steals and fast break layups by Dripping Springs senior point guard Kennedy Donovan sparked a run.
Dripping Springs outscored Wagner 19-6 in the final four minutes of the first half.
“The energy was super high, but it was kind of stale for a little bit,” Donovan said. “I felt like we really needed something to like give us a push. To go the extra mile and to go ever harder than we were before.”
During the 19-6 run the Lady Tigers gained offensive production from sophomore Caroline Gamble, whom hit two three-point shots and scored eight points in the quarter.
“That was exciting,” Gamble said. “Just the adrenaline of the game and it just gets kicking. Everything is so exciting.”
In the second half, the Lady Tigers settled into the game and outscored Wagner 32-25 over the final 16 minutes of game time.
Sophomore forward Ally Beck was a key element as she knocked down multiple three-pointers. Despite first quarter shooting struggles, Dripping Springs shot their jitters away with five combined three-pointers by Beck and Gamble.
“I told them keep shooting, that’s what we do,” Norris said. “So, they kept shooting and we hit some timely three-pointers.”
The fourth quarter was a free-throw competition as both teams were in the bonus early. The Lady Tigers made 15 free throws in the quarter, including nine by Donovan alone, which sealed Dripping Springs’ win.
“It was nerve wracking,” Donovan said. “In the beginning I wasn’t really knocking them (free throws) down. Then I just like got in my groove, you know.”
Donovan finished the game with 17 points, six steals, two assists and one rebound.
Beck finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three steals and one assist, while Gamble had 13 points, seven rebounds and one steal.
Dripping Springs advances to play San Antonio Breckenridge Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Alamo Convocation Center in San Antonio.