Hays guard Ashley Rankine (in white) fights for a loose ball against Waco Midway’s Delisa Gross (22) and Krissica Harper (30) in the Class 4A state semifinal girls high school basketball game Thursday night at the Erwin Center in Austin. Hays’ EJ Joyner, 24, looks on. Midway won, 67-46.
By BILL PETERSON
AUSTIN – The Hays Rebels arrived at the Erwin Center for the semifinals of the state girls high school basketball tournament ready for the well known challenges posed by Waco Midway.
It was the surprises that killed them.
“We watched four films of them and they played man-to-man for the whole game,” Hays coach Donny McDonald said. “Then, they came out tonight in that zone.”
Dumbfounded by the zone, the Rebels made five turnovers in the first three minutes, taking only one shot as Midway jumped to a 6-0 lead. The Rebels could never cut their deficit to less than five for the entire game.
By the end of the first quarter, Midway built a 14-5 lead. In the end, Midway walked off with a 67-46 win in the Class 4A semifinals, ending the Hays season.
Midway will play Mansfield Timberview, a 67-46 winner against Cibolo Steele, in Saturday’s state championship game Saturday afternoon.
The Rebels ended their season 34-5 after making their second state tournament appearance in this decade. By the time they found their bearings offensively, they couldn’t keep up with Midway’s star power, led by 6-5 senior Cokie Reed, who is signed with the University of Texas, and 6-1 senior Delisa Gross, who is headed for Texas Christian University.
The Rebels actually made life hard for Reed, who finished with 12 points after making only four of 12 shots. But Gross took up the slack, scoring 23 points by every method – posting up, shooting off the dribble drive or hitting three-point jumpers. Gross scored 12 of her points during a seven-minute stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters as Midway extended its lead from eight points to 26 points.
Midway packed the game away in the last 2:47 of the third period. Leading 35-27, Midway proceeded to hit six of its next seven shots, tearing off a 13-1 run and extending its lead to 48-20 just before the end of the quarter. Five different Midway players scored during the stretch.
“I thought we did a relatively good job defending them,” Hays forward Brooke Borreson said. “But when they’re hot, they’re hot.”
The Rebels showed signs of fight in the second quarter, which began with EJ Joyner making a layup and Angeleigh Davis driving the lane for two more layups, bringing them within 16-11. Then Hays began sputtering offensively, though it also forced the same affliction on Midway for the next five minutes.
But Midway, leading 24-19, caught a break when the Rebels’ Shelby Calabrese missed a three-point shot, Krissica Harper rebounded for Midway and Reed broke off for a lay-up on which she was fouled by Hays guard Ashley Rankine. Reed made the free throw for a 27-19 lead. Calabrese responded with a jumper with five seconds left in the half, bringing the Rebels within 27-21 at intermission.
Midway came out of the intermission with the only good shooting half for either half in this game, hitting 54.2 percent (13 of 24) in the second half. Midway shot only 33.3 percent (10 of 30) in the first half. Hays, meanwhile, 41.7 percent (10 of 24) in the first half and 36 percent (nine of 25) in the second half.
For the game, Hays shot 38.8 percent (19 of 49), while Midway shot 42.6 percent (23 of 54).
Hays rebounded pretty evenly with Midway, which carried only a 34-33 edge on the boards. However, Midway played a superior floor game, including 13 assist passes (eight by Harper) and 13 turnovers. Hays made 22 turnovers and six assists.
The Rebels, who typically keep opponents to single-digit scoring within quarters, didn’t manage that feat once Thursday. In fact, the Rebels, who allowed only 39.8 points per game leading to the semifinal round, allowed 40 points in the second half against Midway.
“We usually do pretty good in the second half,” McDonald said. “We might have just run out of gas in the first half.”
But the Rebels aren’t out of gas completely. The entire team returns next year, except for departing seniors Calabrese and Joyner.
“I was really proud of our girls,” McDonald said. “It’s not going to be the same next year. The dynamics are going to be different.”Email | Print