Lady Lions ousted in regional semifinals

Feb. 22, 2006 - ENNIS - For 28 minutes of basketball action between Saltillo and Stephenville Huckabay in the Class A, Div. II regional semifinals on Tuesday, the No. 17-ranked Lady Lions looked like they were headed to the semi-state semifinals. 

The final two minutes were another story.

Huckabay (15-18) tied the game at 41-41 on a 3-pointer from Kayla Schnaubert off of a Melissa Martinez assist and then outscored Saltillo, 8-2, to take a 49-43 victory at Ennis High School.

"I thought they executed about as well as any team we have played all year," said Saltillo head coach Garry Davison. "They ran their stuff well and got good looks and they handled whatever we had - if it was a man defense or a tandem defense, they seemed to execute really well.

"I thought that team out-executed us and I thought my kids finally played with a little nerve. I thought we took some quick shots, but having said that, I am so proud of those kids and no one would have ever dreamed this group would have went 24-7 and to the regional semifinals."

Saltillo sophomore Winter Stevens was the game's leading scorer with 14 points, six rebounds and one steal, while teammate Emily White had 13 points and seven rebounds - all on the offensive end - before fouling out with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Davison said that was one of the turning points in the game.

"I thought that hurt us, and basically everyone that has seen us knows that we play five girls. I had to bring in a freshman and Randi (Emmons) played hard and did the best that she could do," the coach said.

The Lady Indians were led in scoring by Karra Schnaubert with 13 points, one rebound and six steals, while senior Kacie Stewart had 12 points and five rebounds and Mika Hale had 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. 

Saltillo held a 12-5 lead after the first quarter due to poor free throw shooting from Huckabay as they went 1-of-6 from the line.

The Lady Indians battled back in the second quarter and outscored Saltillo, 13-8, in the quarter for a 20-18 deficit heading into the locker room. Karra Schnaubert tied the game at 18-18 on a steal and lay-up with 1:10 remaining in the half.

The duo of White and Stevens helped Saltillo extend their lead to 34-28 heading into the final quarter as they combined for 12 of the teams' 14 third-quarter points. 

Huckabay outscored Saltillo, 21-9, in the final quarter as Stewart scored eight points and cut the deficit to 39-38 with just over four minutes remaining in the game. The Lady Indians had their first lead of the game at 43-41 with 1:38 remaining on a pair of free throws from Karra Schnaubert. 

After a Stevens jumper tied the game at 43-43 with over a minute remaining, Kayla Schnaubert nailed a 3-pointer off a Martinez assist for a 46-43 lead. 

"We heard about their 3-point shooting, and they hit almost every shot they took," Davison said. "We were staying close to their shooters and that opened up the gap to drive in and they would hit the mid-range jumper."

Huckabay shot 19-of-44 from the field for 44.2 percent, compared to 19-of-50 shooting for 38 percent for Saltillo. The Lady Lions out-rebounded Huckabay 31-15, and held a 13-8 advantage on the offensive glass, while having more assists (11-7) and more steals (11-7).

"I really am proud of this season. We lost our first game to Roxton, and I wouldn't have gave you a nickel that we would make the regional semifinals," the coach said. "These kids stepped up and played hard and played together. I think this will be an even better team next year."

Notes: Both teams had a combined 46 turnovers in the game. ... Only 21 fouls were called, and Saltillo had two players foul out of the game in the fourth quarter. ... Each team played just seven players. ... This was the third straight playoff game that lasted 75 minutes for the Lady Lions. 

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