BURLESON — It was a tale of two halves in Saturday's Class 4A area playoff showdown as the Kennedale Lady Kats overcame a 10-point deficit with a big second half for a 51-47 win over the Godley Lady Cats at Burleson's Elk Arena.
Godley (18-8) held Kennedale (13-11) to 14 points on 17% shooting in the first half for a 20-14 lead. But Kennedale figured things out in the second half to score 37 points on 43% shooting.
Godley led for roughly 25 minutes of the 32-minute game but turnovers and poor transition defense down the stretch proved costly. Godley Coach Mark Chauveaux said it was one of the tougher playoff losses the Lady Cats have had in his tenure.
“It ranks right up there,” Chauveaux said. “I felt like we played pretty good defense in the first half overall. We came out in the third quarter and even fourth quarter and we turned it over too much. Kennedale did a really good job of converting turnovers into points quickly or even scoring quickly after we would score.
“I don't think our transition defense was where it needed to be. We gave up a lot of free throws, too. We didn't shoot it very well from the line and they shot pretty well. I think a couple of those things are factors. But it's a pretty frustrating loss, for sure.”
In addition to Godley's costly turnovers that resulted in easy points for Kennedale, Godley only shot 9-of-20 on free throws while Kennedale hit 16-of-21 foul shots, including 13-of-16 in the second half.
After Kennedale scored the game's first bucket only 15 seconds into the action, Godley went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-2 lead — a lead the Lady Cats would hold until the fourth quarter.
Kennedale connected on just two of its first 23 shot attempts to start the game as Godley's half-court defense frustrated Kennedale early on, helping the Lady Cats build a 14-5 lead midway through the second quarter. Kennedale went more than 6 minutes without a point one stretch before hitting a couple of free throws on consecutive possessions to make it 14-10 with 3:28 left until halftime.
A Kenzie Mayes jumper followed by back-to-back scores from Hanna Robertson gave Godley a 20-12 lead before Kennedale scored in the final few seconds to make it a 20-14 lead at halftime.
The Lady Cats extended their lead to double digits at 24-14 early in the third quarter after back-to-back scores by Logan Reed, but Kennedale used its aggressive and physical press to force Godley into costly mistakes that allowed the Lady Kats to go on a 7-0 run, cutting Godley's lead down to 24-21 in less than 90 seconds.
Godley settled things down for a bit with a 5-0 run as Alyssa Jimenez scored back-to-back buckets to give the Lady Cats a 29-21 lead with 3:46 left in the third. But Godley was unable to build a double-digit lead back up as Kennedale scored two quick baskets to make it a four-point game.
Reed answered with a tough basket and then hit a pair of free throws to give Godley a 33-25 lead with 2:04 left in the third.
But from there, Kennedale closed the third quarter on an 8-2 run to make it a two-point game going into the fourth quarter.
Timely buckets from Godley's Reagan Maxwell and Taylor McFarland kept the Lady Cats in front in the early stages of the fourth quarter at 39-36, but Kennedale had all momentum at that point.
The Lady Kats went on a 7-0 run as they scored four of those points directly off Godley turnovers. Kennedale's Jayla Hervey scored on a fastbreak after a Godley turnover to give the Lady Kats a 40-39 lead, their first since 2-0.
After Godley's Bryanna Williams hit a pair of free throws to make it 43-41 with 5:11 to play, Kennedale played keep-away from Godley as the Lady Kats held the ball near half court, forcing Godley to chase.
After running more than 40 seconds off the clock, Kennedale's plan backfired on that possession as Godley forced a turnover. After the Lady Cats missed a pair of free throws, Williams came away with an offensive rebound, which led to a clutch corner 3 by Robertson that gave Godley a 44-43 lead with 3:37 remaining.
Following turnovers by both teams, Kennedale reclaimed the lead at 45-44 on a score by Peyton Landry. After another Godley turnover, Kennedale added to its lead as Jayla Jackson hit two free throws for a 47-44 lead with 1:53 left.
Down the stretch, Godley had several chances to tie it but the Lady Cats could never get the game-tying shot to go in.
Despite Godley's offensive struggles late, the Lady Cats had a chance to tie it in the final 15 seconds. After a steal by Maxwell, Godley had the ball down by 2 points at 49-47, but the Lady Cats missed two free throws, which allowed Kennedale to finish the game at the other end with a pair of free throws for a 51-47 lead. Godley missed three more shots, including two putbacks in the paint, as time expired.
Godley finishes a challenging 2020-21 campaign with an overall record of 18-8 after finishing second place in District 11-4A to go along with a bi-district championship.
“I think, from what I can remember, that's really only our second loss when we've had our whole team together,” Chauveaux said. “It's been a tough year. Our whole team has been in quarantine twice and we had one player in quarantine three times. This is only my second game back after having to quarantine myself. When we had our whole team, I think we played pretty good. We just didn't finish in the second half today like we needed to.”
In her final game for Godley after being a four-year starter, Robertson scored 16 points with four rebounds and three assists.
“It's a tough one for the seniors, for sure,” Chauveaux said. “Hanna's kind of been our rock for the last two or three years. We haven't had a whole lot of success the last couple years and I hate it for her because she's a really, really good player. I can't say enough about her. She's been a really good leader and awfully good talent. She's been somebody that's always been really coachable. She's definitely going to be missed.”
In addition to Robertson, it was also the final outings for fellow seniors Williams and Robertson.
“That's another reason this loss is so frustrating is for those seniors because I felt like they've put in their time and they were with us through some really tough years,” Chauveaux said. “Bryanna is another one we're going to miss. She's one of our best defenders over the last couple years. She made it tough on people and was somebody that can shoot it pretty well, too. And Kenzie was somebody that showed up every day and worked as hard as anybody we had on the team. She's definitely somebody we're going to miss from a leadership and knowledge standpoint. She's got two coaches as parents and she knows the game real well.”
Reed finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists while Trinity Roden added two points, five rebounds and five assists. Reed and Roden, along with fellow freshmen Jimenez and Reese Tennery, give the Lady Cats a solid foundation to build on moving forward, in addition to a strong junior core.
“Those guys coming back have a good shot next year,” Chauveaux said. “What's really good about our freshman class is they all love the game. They absolutely are fixated on basketball. There's so many things for kids to be involved in and do these days, and that freshman class is kind of a throwback to 20 years ago when basketball was all there was to do. It's exciting to come to practice every day as a coach and see their enthusiasm and desire to always get better.
“Plus they're pretty darn good. … That's a big jump going to varsity from eighth grade, but they held their own; they more than held their own.”
Kennedale, the District 10-4A champion, will now face Dallas Pinkston in the Class 4A Region II quarterfinals.