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Pirettes finish as state runners-up
Members of the Poth Pirette basketball team hope for good fortune inside the Frank Erwin Center in Austin March 3. The Pirettes fell to Brock in the last game of the season. JIM MILLER/Photographsbyjim.com
Wilson County NewsMarch 7, 2012 3,005 views 1 comment
AUSTIN -- It all came down to the final seconds of play at the Frank Erwin Center last weekend, but when the buzzer eventually sounded, the Poth Pirette basketball team found itself 3 points short, and finished as the Class 2A state runner-up.
After a Region IV title win over Thorndale, Poth earned the right to travel to Austin for the state tournament. For the Pirettes, it was their 12th trip to the Erwin Center, and the team has made the trip during seven of the last eight years.
Poth began its weekend with a state semifinal matchup against Edgewood on March 2. Junior guard Ashley Fuller drilled a 3-pointer to start the game, and Micah Weaver scored Poth’s next 3 points as she was fouled driving to the hoop. She made the basket and converted from the charity stripe to make it a 6-2 game. With a basket from senior Tara Broyles, and another from Weaver, Poth quickly led 10-2.
Edgewood snapped the short Poth run with a 3-pointer, and then went on a short run. Jordan Kotara scored for Poth from the paint, and Jennifer Kruse drained one from downtown. Still, Edgewood managed to tie the game at 15-all, and led 20-17 at the end of the first period.
Edgewood extended its lead with a 3-pointer to start the second period, but Poth came right back with a 9-point run to retake the lead at 26-23. Edgewood tied the game with one beyond the arc, but Weaver scored to give the lead back to Poth -- a lead they wouldn’t again relinquish.
Kotara scored in the closing minutes of the half to give Poth a 4-point lead. She then came up with a big block on defense, and Justine Quintanilla turned it into 2 points at the other end of the floor. Fuller drilled another 3, and Kelli Kolodziej scored the final basket of the half to put Poth on top 37-30.
Following the break, the teams returned to the floor and Edgewood dropped in the first 2 points of the third period. The Pirettes responded by catching fire, though, and ripped off 12-straight points. Edgewood broke the streak with a 3-pointer, but Poth responded with a 13-point run. The Pirettes closed out the third period with an 8-point run, and took a 70-37 lead into the final stanza.
Weaver started off the fourth-period scoring effort with a basket, and Kotara followed suit. Annika Eckel and Claire Raabe also got into the scoring action in the fourth, and helped lift the Pirettes to an 81-55 victory and a pass into the state final.
With little time to rest, the Pirettes returned to the Erwin Center March 3 for the state finals. They were pitted against Brock, the winners of the state title the last three years running, and everyone knew it was going to be a great battle.
Poth won the tip and Fuller sank the first basket of the game, but it was evident there was going to be no run-away this time. Both teams missed a number of shots early, and Poth found itself drawing a number of early fouls. After a free throw from Raabe, and a basket by Brock, the teams were tied at 3-3, and then 5-5. Poth pulled back on top at 7-5, but a 3-pointer from the defending state champs gave Brock its first lead of the game. Raabe answered to put Poth back on top by 1, and Brock responded. Weaver scored to make it 11-10 in favor of Poth, but Brock closed out the first with a short run, and led 15-11 at the buzzer.
Kruse drilled a 3 to open the second period, but Brock spent time at the free-throw line to pull ahead 18-14. The Lady Eagles dropped in a pair of 3-pointers, and took another trip to the stripe, giving the team a 28-16 lead over the Pirettes. Poth kept fighting throughout the second, and got on a short run to end the half with the score at 30-22 in favor of Brock.
After several missed opportunities at both ends of the floor in the opening minutes of the second half, the Lady Eagles got things rolling with a 3-pointer. Weaver, Kolodziej, and Kotara responded for Poth, and the gap was narrowed to just 5 points. The back-and-forth play continued throughout the third period, and the teams exchanged 3-pointers to close it out. Still, Brock maintained a 41-35 advantage with just eight minutes remaining in the season.
In the fourth and final period of play, Fuller took over to lead a Poth comeback. She scored on a nice layup, and then dropped in 2 more from the line. Kolodziej scored another point from the charity stripe, and Fuller brought the Pirettes to within a basket after converting a 3-point play with the “hoop and harm.” She then tied the game at 45-45 with another drive off the right side of the key.
With just 1:45 remaining in the game, the teams might as well have wiped the scoreboard clean. It was all tied up, and it was clear it would come down to the wire.
Aggressive play continued at both ends of the floor, and the Lady Eagles retook the lead with a shot from the free-throw line. Fuller responded with another basket for Poth, and the Pirettes led 47-46, their first lead since the first period. A free throw tied the game at 47-all, and another 2 shots from the stripe gave Brock a 2-point lead. Raabe came right back to score for Poth, and the game was again tied with only seconds remaining.
Brock quickly moved the ball down the floor, and Poth made a mistake as they committed a foul and allowed the basket to fall. One shot from the free-throw line made it a 3-point game, and Poth was quickly running out of options.
The Pirettes took a timeout to discuss their options, and then set up a play to give Fuller a shot to tie things up. Brock played great defense, though, forcing Fuller to take an off-balanced shot from beyond the arc. Her attempt was just off the mark, and bounced off the iron. Brock came up with the rebound, and celebrated the state championship.
It was a tough loss for the Pirettes. The girls played well with a volleyball-shortened season, and finished with an overall record of 28-9. They won their district title, took home an area championship and a Region IV title, and finished as the state runner-up. Fuller was named as the game MVP during the state semifinal, and both Fuller and Weaver were named to the all-tournament team. With only three seniors on this year’s team, one thing is certain -- the Pirettes will still be quite a powerhouse next season.
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