Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 H.S. Basketball Playoffs: Wall vs. Hallettsville Girls State Semifinal

Well, I find myself back in Austin once again to cover the girls state basketball tournament. The Wall High School Lady Hawks have once again found themselves in the thick of things and vying for a championship. The last time I was in Austin at the girls state tournament was back in 2010 and, oddly enough, it was Wall I was covering. This is the sixth time the Lady Hawks have found themselves playing for a state title. They just never seem to make that final leap of greatness to be crowned Queens of the Court.

It was a bit of an early start than usual with the tip-off at 8:30am. Other than to get up to go to school, I don't know of any teenager that gets up before noon if they can help it. But I guess if it were a big day for me as it was for these girls, I wouldn't be complaining to much. Wall was going to play Hallettsville for a chance to earn a birth to the final game of the season. Hallettsville has never been to the state tournament before so this team was a bit of an unknown. Last year they didn't even make the playoffs and now, just a year later, they are in the state tournament.

At the beginning of the game it seemed as if the sleepiness had not yet worn off for the Lady Hawks as they found themselves down 7-0 about a minute and half into the first quarter. But as the first half went on, Wall found their footing and gradually gained ground on Hallettsville. An 8-0 run in the second quarter boosted the morale of the Lady Hawks led by the outstanding play of sisters Maddi and Bobbi Chitsey. The Lady Hawks headed into the locker room with a 30-26 lead. Now all they had to was play keep-away in the second half and not get into foul trouble.

In the second half Wall kept the lead out of reach for Hallettsville. It also helped that three Hallettsville players fouled out of the game and they had to replenish their ranks with bench players. Wall was sent to the foul line multiple times and, in my opinion, really helped seal the deal. The Lady Hawks made 27 of 38 shots from the foul line. That's 71%! As Standard-Times sports reporter Carlos Silva and I were driving into Austin yesterday afternoon I made a prediction that Wall would win by 12 points. Turns out I wasn't far off as Wall cruised to a 59-44 win to advance to the Class 2A state championship. The Lady Hawks will play Brock for the title at 1:30pm at the Frank Erwin Center. This is going to be a tough game for the Lady Hawks as Brock is the five-time defending state champions. It was Brock that beat Wall in the state title game 38-33 back 2010. Should be fun to cover regardless of the outcome.

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