Hererra's Late-Game Heroics Keeps Veribest's Cinderella Run Alive
SAN ANGELO, TX -- Sophomore shooting guard Chloe Hererra’s consecutive three-pointers in the fourth quarter proved to be the turning point to keep the Veribest Lady Falcon’s magical season alive on Monday with a 34-29 win over no. 25-ranked Blackwell in the class 1A region II quarterfinals. It’s the school’s first-ever trip to the regional tournament.
“This is great. We’re making history out here,” the sophomore said.
In front of a raucous crowd at Angelo State University’s Junell Center, Hererra sparked a 6-0 run with under six minutes left in the game that put Veribest up 23-19. That run would start a 17-point outburst to help Veribest to yet another history-making win.
“It was incredibly instrumental,” head coach Jim Eubank said of Hererra’s three-pointers. “Then she comes back and hits another deuce on top of that. Chloe’s been struggling lately with her shot.”
Eubank said Hererra talked to him before the game. “Coach, I found my shot,” she told Eubank.
WATCH: Veribest downs Blackwell in regional quarterfinals.
The shots were crucial also because neither team could find traction in the fourth quarter, much like they couldn’t throughout the whole game. There were more jump balls (8) than there were field goals (7) in the first half.
Veribest had come up empty-handed on their first four trips down the floor in the fourth and Blackwell came up empty on their first seven offensive possessions. The only sustained run in the first half was a 6-0 run in the second quarter from the Lady Hornets.
“I hugged [Chloe] a little while ago and told her ‘I’m glad you found that shot,” Eubank smiled. “At that time, like you said, nobody could get any traction. It was both ends. It was … bang and bang and try to get a shot up and missed free throws. It’s a testament to these girls; they never quit.”
Veribest’s only lead prior to the fourth quarter was an early 4-2 lead in the first. They trailed 8-6 after the first and 14-9 after the second before freshman Kennadi Wheeless hit a three-pointer to bring Veribest within 19-17 under a minute to go in the third.
“We went into the locker room and [coach Eubank] told us we need to calm down,” Hererra said. “We were panicking, basically; we were nervous. We came out here [in the second half] and played how we usually played.
But the magical run isn’t just due to the work the girls have put in dating all the way back to the summer, Eubank said.
“These girls have been a blessing to me, they’re a blessing to our community,” Eubank said. “A lot of people have put in a lot of hours with these girls before I came along. I’m just fortunate enough to be able to come in and point them in the right direction. They bought into what we were gonna do.”
Next up will be a clash with a top 15-ranked team in either no. 9 Hermleigh or no. 14 Patton Springs. They are just two of five top 25 teams in region II.
With the way his team has fought and clawed through this historic run, Eubank is excited to see what’s next.
“We’ve got like four teams that are all ranked in the top 15,” Eubank emphasized. “Which, that’s what it should be. When you get to this point, every game should be huge and every opponent should be good. And they will be.”