The Cleburne Lady Jackets struggled late in a 52-48 overtime loss in their District 9-5A opener against Granbury on Tuesday night.
Cleburne held a 37-31 lead with 4:40 left in the third quarter but Granbury out-scored Cleburne 21-9 the rest of the way as the Lady Jackets struggled mightily on offense down the stretch.
“We panicked under pressure and had too many unforced turnovers,” Cleburne Coach Brooke Robinson said. “Instead of setting up the offense and being patient, we forced plays that were not there.
“We will get back to work and be ready for next week. This loss was a setback but with adversity there is opportunity to grow and strengthen as a team. We are still a young team and we’re making young-team mistakes. We have one returning starter and three sophomore starters and our senior captain was out with an injury. We have to grow and have patience to work the ball instead of panicking.”
The Lady Pirates took a 39-37 lead late in the third quarter to cap off an 8-0 run before Cleburne’s Lauren Bicknell hit a jumper late in the frame to give the Lady Jackets a 41-39 lead entering the fourth.
But Cleburne went ice cold in the fourth quarter as the Lady Jackets scored only five points. Granbury also had its fair share of offensive woes as the Lady Pirates made only 2-of-16 shots from the field in the fourth quarter but still managed to send it into overtime.
With Granbury holding a 45-44 lead, Cleburne’s Caitlyn Cron went coast-to-coast to give the Lady Jackets a 46-45 lead with 46 seconds remaining. Granbury turned it over but Cleburne was unable to capitalize. The Lady Pirates took advantage and dominated the glass as they did all game as Granbury had three offensive rebounds on shots right at the rim before drawing a foul.
Granbury junior Mandy Withey, who had a monster performance, hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie it with 22 seconds left. Neither team could get off a good look to win it late, as the game went into overtime.
Cleburne’s offensive struggles carried into overtime. After Cleburne’s Chloe Scott scored less than 45 seconds into overtime for a 48-46 lead, the Lady Jackets didn’t score the rest of the way. All six of Granbury’s points in overtime came at the free throw line.
The Lady Jackets played the majority of the second half without their No. 1 option in junior Jayla Johnson, who picked up her fourth foul with 6:40 left in the third quarter and had to sit until the fourth quarter began. She later fouled out with 1:29 left in regulation.
“Jayla is a key player for us and it is difficult for us when she is not in,” Robinson said. “She creates an offensive threat and has a strong presence.”
Withey led Granbury with 26 points and 27 rebounds as the Lady Pirates dominated the boards with a 55-38 advantage, including 22 offensive rebounds.
“It is hard to win when you get out-rebounded and aren’t able to have many second-chance shots,” Robinson said. “The times we did, it was difficult to put it in the basket. The girls’ heart and effort were there, but execution fell short.”
Cron led Cleburne with 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals while Scott added 12 points and nine rebounds. Johnson scored nine points with five rebounds in limited minutes. Wendellyn Moblin added five points and eight rebounds off the bench for Cleburne.
The Lady Jackets shot 31 percent from the floor (including 1-of-15 from 3) and made just 5-of-11 free throws with 28 turnovers. The Lady Pirates shot 23 percent from the floor (1-of-10 from 3) and made 25-of-36 free throws with 26 turnovers.
Cleburne (3-7, 0-1) returns to league play Dec. 15 at Everman.