Lady Bears' season ends in state quarterfinals
Tyler Clifton | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Feb. 27, 2004 -- AVALON -- Once Sulphur Bluff senior Zandra Messick picked up her fifth foul with time winding down late in the fourth quarter, one could sense that the Lady Bears' playoff run was about to come to an end.

It was a game of runs, and Priddy had just a bit more left in the tank.

Hope Hohertz had a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds, older sister Hailey finished with 16 points and eight rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range, while Jenna Partin added seven boards to lead the 2003 Texas Cup Champion Lady Pirates to a 42-39 win Tuesday night in the state quarterfinals.

Seven was the lucky number of the night for PHS (22-10), as the Lady Pirates made seven field goals, 3-pointers and free throws. PHS shot only 38 percent from the floor (14-of-37) but was 44 percent from beyond the arc and had four different players make 3-pointers.

Ashley Pettit led SBHS (25-5) with 11 points and 11 rebounds, Jennifer McDonald had 10 points and five rebounds while Messick added nine points and six boards. Both teams had 28 rebounds, while the Lady Bears committed only 10 turnovers to the Lady Pirates' 18. SBHS took 12 more shots than its counterpart and was 3-of-5 from long range, but a 31 percent clip from the floor seemed to be its undoing.

"They got hot and hit their threes," SBHS head coach Tim Lane said. "Those two guards are really good, and they presented some matchup problems for us."

The Lady Bears trailed by three entering the third quarter, until a Jill Jaggers' basket and McDonald layup put SBHS up, 21-20, two minutes into the quarter.

Priddy sophomore guard Sasha Sharp's 3-pointer ignited a 10-0 run that included four Hope Hohertz points and another Hailey Hohertz's trey, her third triple of the night. The Lady Bears went scoreless for 3:35 and found themselves down 30-21. Messick also picked up her fourth foul with three minutes to go and had to sit out the rest of the quarter. Two Pettit free throws brought SBHS within five.

"I don't think we came into this game with the same confidence or morale," Pettit said. "We came out with a different attitude than we seemed to in our other playoff games. We faced a good team, but it's unfortunate we couldn't have gone further."

Messick struggled from the floor, missing her first seven shots, but the senior's 3-pointer sandwiched between two McDonald layups capped an 11-0 run and gave the Lady Bears a 32-30 lead with 6:14 left in the game. Two Hope Hohertz free throws tied the score, but McDonald answered, scoring off a rebound at the 4:27 mark.

The Lady Pirates were struggling with Sulphur Bluff's triangle-and-two defense that kept the ball out of the Hohertz sisters' hands for most of the third quarter. Pettit was playing solid defense before appearing to hit a wet spot on the court. Hailey Hohertz took advantage and calmly sank her fourth triple of the night.

"She made a move, and I tripped over her foot," Pettit said. "She did a good job of hitting the wide-open shot, and it was my fault that I fell."

Things continued to unravel, as McDonald was whistled for her fifth foul with less than four minutes to go, taking away a valuable offensive weapon, as the sophomore was a perfect 3-for-3 in the quarter.

PHS missed the front end of a one-and-one and turned the ball over its next two possessions, but the Lady Bears couldn't take advantage, and McDonald's presence inside was missed. Hope Hohertz got open inside and put the Lady Pirates up 37-34 with 2:24 left in the game.

The teams exchanged turnovers, as SBHS went three straight possessions without a bucket. Jaggers inbounded the ball under her own basket and found Messick in the corner for a game-tying 3-pointer.

Sharp penetrated inside to regain the lead, but Pettit's jumper with 44 seconds left tied the game at 39.

Lane was yelling at his team to keep the ball out of the twin towers' hands, but Hope Hohertz scored on a wide open layup to take the lead for good. A visibly upset Lane called timeout and broke his clipboard in the process.

It was the final game for Messick and fellow senior Rocio Diaz. Messick wound up making the final shot of her career on a 3-pointer, but she was more concerned about coming up a bit short.

"It's depressing this had to be the last game of my senior year," Messick said. "We lost, and we can't go back and change that. I just wish I played a little harder."

Lane couldn't stress enough Messick's value to the team and said her playing ability will be difficult to replace next season.

"I was awfully pleased with Zandra's senior leadership," Lane said. "Her ability to hit that three late in the game showed just how good a player she is. She was a tremendous player all four years, and she'll be missed."

Jumpers by the Hohertz sisters gave the Lady Pirates an early 4-0 lead, and they stretched it to 9-2 on a 3-pointer from Kelcie Hopper. Pettit's jumper off a Messick assist and McDonald's putback cut the deficit to two heading into the second quarter.

Pettit's score off a miss and a coast-to-coast layup by Jaggers off a steal on the end of a 9-0 gave the Lady Bears a brief 11-9 lead. Hailey Hohertz hit her first two 3-pointers and Hope Hohertz another for a 9-0 run of their own and an 18-11 advantage with 5:10 left in the half.

The teams exchanged turnovers, including a Lady Pirate miscue that had Sharp running full speed and winding up in the lap of SBHS assistant coach Charles Wright.

Messick's 3-pointer and a Pettit free throw sent the Lady Bears into intermission down only 20-17, and the run extended to 8-0 in the second half. One drawback was Messick picking up her third foul with 55 seconds left in the half. Lane said he was unaware she had two fouls.

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