Tuesday night, Feb. 5, was the final regular season game for the Ladycats as they hosted the Lady Riders from Boys Ranch. The Ladycats came out and led through the middle of the game until the final quarter where they were outscored 12-3. The Ladycats dropped a close game at the buzzer 32-33.
The Ladycats kept the game close in the first quarter, thanks to shooting from Faith Castillo who sank a 3-pointer. Gracen Haberthur and Rylee DeBord added a goal each in the first. The Ladycats only trailed by three, 7-10, in the first quarter.
Sunray’s defense was able to help keep the scoring down in the second quarter from the Lady Riders as they only were able to put two free throws on the board.
Meanwhile, the Ladycats added 12 more points to extend their lead 19-12 going into the half.
In the third quarter the Ladycats put up 10 points, but they allowed nine from the Lady Riders.
After three quarters, the score was 29-21 with the Ladycats holding on to the eight-point lead.
The Ladycats saw their lead slipping away in the fourth as the Lady Riders continued to score and post a 33-29 lead over the Ladycats with 2:27 left in the fourth quarter.
Kaitlyn DeBord closed the gap within one at 33-32 with a three.
It was a back-and-forth battle down the court in the remaining time. The Ladycats were looking to score again when the Lady Riders stole a bounce pass. However, they were unable to score, and eventually, the Ladycats took possession again with seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, a long pass overshot and went out of bounds. Possession went back to Boys Ranch with three seconds left.
Leading scores for the Ladycats were Kaitlyn DeBord and Rylee DeBord with 11 and eight points, respectively. Kaitlyn had three 3-pointers and a bucket, while Rylee shot four baskets.
Haberthur was behind them with six total points. Also scoring were Daisy Burrola and Castillo.
“The first half was really good,” Head coach Zac Underwood said. “We executed really well. We put the ball where we needed to put it.”
He said it seemed Boys Ranch came out and played a little harder in the second half and the lead slipped.
“We can either learn from it or repeat it,” he said.
It was a tough loss, especially since the team has made strides over the course of the season. Underwood believes the girls have improved tremendously since the beginning of the season.
“We’ve competed in a way that I don’t think we thought we could,” he said.
He provided an analogy of a ladder, where they started at the bottom and couldn’t see the top. As the season progressed, they kept climbing and continue to climb into postseason.
The Ladycats have at least one more game as they head into postseason play. They currently sit fourth in the district. He believes their opponent will be Panhandle, but nothing is set at this time.
Underwood spoke highly of the seniors and how far they have come during the season.
“They embraced their roles and they understand that we’re better as a group than we are individually,” he said. “I know it’s tough on them. Nobody wants to lose this way on their last game at home, but I feel like they got to be proud of how far they’ve come and how far we’ve come as a group. You got to have those seniors who have gone through some battles who can get you through some of the rocky times.”
The Ladycats are 4-6 in the district and finish 14-16 overall.