(Kyle) – The Seguin girls basketball team was unable to pull a 4-seed, 1-seed upset in the 5A bi-district playoffs Tuesday night, as the Matadors’ season ended in a 43-23 loss to Austin High, the TABC’s 10th-ranked team in the state, at Lehman High School in Kyle.
Seguin struggled to find open shots against an Austin High lineup that outsized the Matadors at every position, and the Maroons owned a 13-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Mats trailed 17-5 in the second period, but used a 7-0 run to pull within five before a free throw by Mia Heide gave Austin High an 18-12 halftime lead. Seguin only trailed by four early in the third quarter, but the Maroons stretched the margin to 13 points, 35-22, heading into the fourth, and sealed the deal by outscoring the Matadors 8-1 in the final frame.
It was the second time this season Austin High held Seguin without a field goal in the fourth quarter. The Maroons delivered a similar defensive gem in a 42-40 win over the Mats on Dec. 1 at the Hays Tournament, but Seguin played well enough over the first three periods of that game to build a seven-point lead and have a chance to win down the stretch.
“We were pretty hot against them the first time we played them, we made some big threes early, and tonight it was just a real struggle,” Seguin head coach Mollie Langwell said. “We had balls roll around the rim, you think they’re going in, and they’re not going in, and I feel like it’s kind of been that way this season – we have a lot of balls that just roll around and don’t go in, and it’s been tough, but the biggest difference I think, is our bigs got in foul trouble, and we just had a really hard time getting things going.”
The Matadors were scrappy enough defensviely to hold Austin High to 16 points below their season average of 59 per game.
Still, the frontcourt tandem of 6’3” post Mia Heide and 6’0” sophomore Tiana Gardner proved a difficult matchup for Seguin in the paint.
Gardner and Heide scored 15 points apiece and kept multiple possessions alive with offensive rebounds. They combined to attempt 14 free throws while drawing four fouls apiece from Seguin posts Desiray Rodriguez and Ashley Strawder, and three on backup center Jessi Herbold.
“Our kids did their best at boxing out, but when you have that kind of size, it’s just really hard to do,” Langwell said.
Renae Ramon scored five points for Seguin, Cortlin Buchanan added four, and Aliya Ramon and Leandra Priestly totaled three apiece. Kirstyn Bode, Strawder, Rodriguez, and Emiko Hemphill each netted two points.
Tuesday was the final varsity basketball game in the high school careers of Buchanan, Bode, Strawder, Hemphill, Herbold, and both Ramon sisters. The seven seniors helped the Seguin girls make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 1995 and ’96, and Langwell hopes they can take pride in that accomplishment when the disappointment from the loss to Austin High subsides a bit.
“That’s what we just talked about in the locker room – we’re upset we lost, and it’s never fun to lose and go out this way, but in 20 years, no girls team has gone two years in a row to the playoffs, and that’s the legacy that these seniors have left, and that’s what they’re going to take home with them tonight.”
After finishing fourth in District 26-5A and advancing to the bi-district playoffs, Seguin’s final season record is 19-13.