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Ending as area finalists

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By Brian Besch
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Facing a massive challenge Friday night, Big Sandy was not able to overcome a powerful, state-ranked Shiner squad, falling 45-29 at Waller High School

The Lady Comanches are No. 6 in the state and hold a 30-2 record on the season.

After a low-scoring 9-4 first period, the Lady Cats went into halftime trailing by just one long bucket.

“I thought we played a pretty good first half of the game,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said. “The score at the end of the second quarter was 16-13. We put a lot of shots up in the first quarter and second quarter and just couldn’t get anything to fall. Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job on their point guard. She is their best player, in my opinion, and makes them go. Their second-best player was their post. Holding them to 16 points in the first half and not shooting the ball very well; we will take that.

In the second half, the Lady Cats faced a press from Shiner. Again, Big Sandy had trouble on offense, this time the problem was getting it started.

“They got on us pretty tough in the second half and didn’t give us any room to breathe,” Alec said. “They were just pressuring up quite a bit and it was hard for us to get a shot up. I thought we could have improved a little more on executing our offense and we got into a rush at times. Defensively, I thought we played as well as we could have. It was just one of those nights when we couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”

Shiner had the size advantage in the game, with multiple athletes six feet in height or more.

“We did a pretty good job of blocking out, we just couldn’t secure the ball at certain points in the game. It hurt us at times with offensive rebounds. Our kids played tough and physical.”

Faith Geller and Shanaya Poncho led with 10 points each. Savanna Poncho had seven points and Savannah Boyd had two, meaning each of the seniors scored in their final contest.

Alec said he will remember this 2023-24 team for the turnaround in the second half of district. After dropping a few district games in the first round, Big Sandy went undefeated in the second round of league play. They were able to beat two of the top teams in West Hardin on the road and Evadale at home to finish in second place.

“Our kids battled all season long and overcame some obstacles,” the coach said. “They have a lot of grit and they battled all the way through. We finished the season at 26-10 and we will take that. We got a playoff win under our belt and we’ve got a lot of young kids that got some experience. My seniors are Savannah Boyd, Savanna Poncho and Faith Geller. I can’t say enough about those three kids. Theses three have won a lot of games the past four years. They have made deep runs in the playoffs and even played in a regional tournament. They can be proud of these accomplishments. They are great leaders on the floor and after basketball and graduation, those three girls are going to do some great things. They are going to be missed next year.”

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