The Paxton Lady Tigers had lost to Hitchcock County twice this season by identical 52-47 scores, but you know how hard it is to defeat a team three teams in the same season.
The two teams met again in the second contest of the D1-11 Subdistrict at McGahan Activities Center in North Platte on Tuesday and the old adage held true as Paxton defeated the Lady Falcons 46-27 and advance to play Sutherland in the final on Thursday.
“One of the things we said is let’s have four good quarters because we always start slow,” said Paxton coach Janell Beveridge. “I think both teams had the jitters because if you lose you go home.
“The girls settled down and I was real pleased with everybody. The bench came in and did their job and I was happy with all of them.”
Paxton (11-10) scored first but it didn’t take the Lady Falcons long to show why they had won the two previous games. After Kristen Garner knocked down a pair of free throws, Lesley Towery hit two from 15 feet. Taylor McCauley scored in the paint and after Allyson Cole hit one of two free throws, Hitchcock County led 7-2 with 4-minutes, 52 seconds left in the first quarter.
But the Lady Tigers were able to one-up the Lady Falcons (10-13) as they came back with a run, this one of 11 points to take the lead back they would not relinquish.
Emma Holz hit both her charity tosses and Taylor Holzfaster went coast-to-coast for a score. When Holz hit from 12 feet Paxton took the lead at 8-7.
Brekkan Martinosky scored two on a break and Holzfaster finished off the run with just three ticks on the clock as she nailed a 3 from the top of the key for a 13-7 lead at the end of one.
After their opening run, Hitchcock County struggled to find the range offensively as they sometimes missed on three and four attempts to score after offensive boards.
“If you can’t shoot, everything else you do doesn’t matter much,” said Hitchcock County coach Clark Benne. “The ball has to go in the hole and it didn’t go in.
“We had an awful lot of good shots that we didn’t make. It’s as simple as that — you have to make them.”
Paxton widened the gap to begin the second quarter. The Lady Tigers scored eight-of-ten points over the span of three minutes to take a 21-11 lead at the 4:50 mark. The teams headed to their locker rooms at half with the Lady Tigers up 44-13.
“We told the kids we wanted to get a little space in there,” said Beveridge. “We had Mary Vasquez chasing Brooke Hoyt because she hurt us bad the first two times we played. And we got the bench in there to give them a breather.
“I’ve got nothing but praise for Austin Hackney because she’s been sick for two days. She really rose to the occasion.”
Holzfaster led the Lady Tigers with 17 points and nine rebounds and Martinosky added 12 points and eight rebounds.
“Taylor has come on to lead us in the last couple of games,” said Beveridge. “We’ve tried to get her to go to the basket more.
“She always wants to dish off and be the feeder and she’s our go-to-girl. She’s real strong and if she goes to the basket she’s hard to stop.”
Paxton kept the pressure on in the second half outscoring the Lady Falcons 11-9 in the third quarter and 11-5 in the final frame. The Lady Tigers began half-court pressure in the first quarter and continued it at times in the second half.
“We try to turn it over but if not it gets them out of their rhythm,” Beveridge said. “We didn’t want them to get in a groove because they can shoot the ball and we’re respectful of that.
“They’re a good team and they beat us by five each of the first two games. They’ve launched the 3 against us and our goal was to shut those shooters off and we did.”
Towery led Hitchcock County with 12 points, the only Lady Falcon in double figures.
Paxton (11-10) .................... 13 11 11 11 — 46
Hitchcock Co. (10-13) ................... 7 6 9 5 — 27
P: Taylor Holzfaster 4, 2, 3/7, 17; Nicole Keller 0, 0, 0/2, 0; Mary Vasquez 2, 0,, 5; Brekkan Martinosky 4, 0, 4/4, 12; Leanne Gamet 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Emma Holz 1, 0, 2/2, 4; Karlee Schow 0, 0, 0/1, 0; Taylor Hahn 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Austin Hackney 2, 0, 0/2, 4.
HC: Brooke Hoyt 0, 0,, 1; Kristen Garner 1, 0, 2/2, 4; Lesley Towery 6, 0, 0/0, 12; Kori Bauer 0, 0,, 2; Allyson Cole 1, 0,, 3; Taylor McCauley 2, 0,, 5.