Behind a characteristic defensive effort, the Hays High School girls basketball team advanced to the Class 4A state tournament with a 41-40 win against district rival Del Valle in the Region III championship game Saturday in Spring Branch.
Ashley Rankine scored the winning basket for Hays, hitting a lay-up off an assist pass from Shelby Calabrese with 10 seconds left to give the Rebels a 41-40 lead.
Calabrese led Hays with 14 points, followed by E.J. Joyner with 11. Shanay Washington of Del Valle led all scorers with 16 pouints.
The Rebels, 34-4, will play Region II winner Waco Midway at the Erwin Center in Austin Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in the first round of the state final four.
Hays last went to the state tournament in 2001 after making its only other state tournament appearance in 1980.
After Del Valle jumped to a 10-2 lead, the Rebels clamped down defensively and fought to within 17-16 at halftime. The Rebels moved ahead, 27-24, at the end of the third quarter on Chrissy Arias’ steal and lay-up, followed by Paige Lord’s jumper at the buzzer.
Washington, who is signed to Baylor, triggered a 7-0 Del Valle run with two baskets at the start of the fourth quarter, putting the Cardinals into a 31-27 lead, But Joyner answered with six straight points for Hays, giving the Rebels a 33-31 advantage.
The two teams continued going back and fourth, with Del Valle taking a 40-39 lead on two free throws by Joslinn Douglas with 18 seconds left.
After Rankine made the lay-up that gave the lead back to Hays, Joyner stole the ball from Douglas and ran out the clock.
The Rebels won for the second time in four meetings this year against Del Valle. Hays won the District 17-4A regular season title with an 11-1 record in the league, followed by Del Valle in second place at 10-2. The Cardinals finished their season 29-5 overall.Email | Print