SAN ANTONIO, TX — The Irion County Lady Hornets made their way to San Antonio to play their State Semifinal matchup against the Huckabay Lady Indians on Thursday, March 2, at the Alamodome at 8:30 a.m. The Lady Hornets led early, but turnovers and poor shooting overall caused Irion County to fall 47-35.
The Lady Hornets got out to a great start and took the lead early. Acelyn Fowler made two baskets in a row, including a 3-point shot, to give Irion County a four-point lead in the first three minutes. The defense locked down the Lady Indians and only allowed seven points in the quarter. At the end of the first, Irion County led 10-7. Fowler led the Lady Hornets with 7 points.
Huckabay battled back in the second quarter and wrestled the lead away from Irion County. The Lady Hornets kept pace until less than two minutes to go. The Lady Indians’ Kaylar Harris and Lillie Soderland made consecutive baskets with less than 20 seconds to go in the half to give Huckabay a five-point lead at the break, 23-18. Melanie Rainey led Irion County at the half with 8 points.
KK Hart hit a three to open up the second half and put the Lady Hornets back within two points. However, those were the last points Irion County scored for the next four minutes. In that time, the Lady Indians went on a 12-3 run and extended their lead to 14 points. KK Hart hit another three to cut that lead back down to 11, but the damage was done. Irion County entered the fourth quarter trailing Huckabay 36-28.
The Lady Hornets battled back in the final period, getting within five points on more than one occasion, but turnovers and missed opportunities doomed their chances at a comeback. The ladies had plenty of open looks, but the shots did not fall. Irion County went 4/17 from the floor and had six turnovers in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, Huckabay pulled too far ahead for the Lady Hornets to play their style game, and they lost in the State Semifinals 47-35.
Congratulations to the Irion County Lady Hornets for making the State Tournament. 2023 is their first appearance in school history, and the program that Head Coach Jacob Conner and this coaching staff continue to build is nothing short of incredible. The Lady Hornets were the only no. 2 seed to make the tournament (all others were district champions) and finished the year with a 22-9 record, district runners-up, Bi-district Champions, Area Champions, Regional Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Regional Final Champions. These ladies added an extensive amount of hardware to their trophy case this season and should have quite an impressive banner to hang in Irion County’s new gym.
Melanie Rainey posted a double-double and led the Lady Hornets with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
KK Hart and Acelyn Fowler both added 6 points. Katie Casey, Audrey Tillman, and Baylee Rainey added 2 points each. Berkley Callaway played significant minutes and recorded one rebound and one steal. Kyleigh Yant, Zoe Baumann, Kassie Martinez, and Presli Cormier cheered their team on from the sidelines.
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