Originally published on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
NIXON - Shiner had only four players on the court when Falls City's Haleigh Blocker shot the first of her two decisive free throws.
But for most of the Class 1A, Division I regional quarterfinal playoff game, it seemed to the Lady Comanches like they were playing a girl short.
"They got all the loose balls and they got the rebounds and that was big," said Shiner coach John Hoelter. "I told them all year the little things are going to make the difference in a close ballgame."
Falls City's ability to control the boards and get the loose balls proved to be the difference in a 37-33 win on Tuesday night at the Nixon gym.
The Beaverettes improved to 30-4 and advanced to the regional tournament against the Thrall-Thorndale winner on Friday at noon at New Braunfels Canyon.
"They got a lot of the loose balls and some key rebounds," Hoelter said. "They took away some of our strengths, but our other girls stepped up and did a good job."
Shiner (29-7) was playing from behind the whole game, falling into a 9-0 hole and failing to score until LaNeshia Hunt made a 3-pointer with 2:40 left in the first quarter.
"We played so tentative to start the game," Hoelter said. "We were just like, I don't know why we were just really tentative with our cuts and our passes and we weren't attacking.
"We started to attack a little more in the second half, really after the first 4 or 5 minutes we started doing a better job."
Shiner trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, but pulled within one on a layup by Kristin Schacherl with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter and again on a free throw by Hunt with 5:11 remaining.
But Falls City responded with Kayla Kotara's second 3-pointer and made 5 of 9 free throws to close the game out.
Schacherl fouled out when she grabbed Blocker with 14.4 seconds left. Hoelter was unaware it was her fifth foul and substituted for another player, leaving Shiner with four on the court.
The referees allowed Blocker to shoot the free throw and after discussing the situation, allowed it to stand.
Blocker, who had 12 points, made the second free throw to seal the win.
"They battled back," Hoelter said. "Our girls always show resiliency and made it a ballgame.
"On the inbounds play, we missed that one. If we just, that rebound down there. Little things like that and that was the difference."