FLOWER MOUND — Aubrey’s Kendyl Wright put her team on her back with 15 third-quarter points in Wednesday’s Class 3A bi-district playoff game against Decatur to give the Lady Chaps a one-point lead heading into the fourth.
Wright fouled out with 3:18 left to play and her team trailing by three, and Decatur controlled the clock to hand the Lady Chaps a 46-35 loss at Flower Mound Marcus.
“It felt good [to make the playoffs],” Wright, a junior, said. “It was an honor to be here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Wright led Aubrey (13-14) with a game-high 27 points, nine rebounds and four blocks against Decatur (24-5), which advanced to play Princeton in the area round.
Despite facing just a 36-33 deficit when Wright received her final foul, Aubrey coach Johnny Hodge said he knew his offense would struggle.
“That hurt us because we kind of rely on her,” Hodge said. “She’s been doing that all year for us, and she played really well for us in the third quarter. We depend on her heavily.”
Aubrey got its first lead midway through the first quarter after Wright drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Lady Chaps up 8-7. But Decatur finished the period on a 7-4 run, highlighted by Murphy Graham’s 3-pointer, to take a 14-12 lead into the second.
Neither team scored in the second quarter, with Aubrey holding the ball for more than a minute at one point. Aubrey went 4-for-22 from the field in the first half, while Decatur shot 4-for-25 and held a 14-12 advantage.
Wright came out of the break with a mean streak, viciously sending back three Decatur shot attempts and ripping down five rebounds in the third quarter. Her 15 points in the period led the Lady Chaps to a seven-point lead, but it dissipated as Decatur finished the quarter on an 8-2 run to pull within 29-28.
“They went small, and that gave us some problems up front,” Hodge said. “If we could’ve just gotten it inside, we would’ve been all right and gone on a little run.”
Decatur junior Shelby Drews found her groove with 12 fourth-quarter points on her way to 22 points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals.
The Lady Eagles carried over their third-quarter momentum to outscore Aubrey 18-6 in the final stanza.
Sophomore Scarlett Gregory finished with six points for Aubrey and sophomore Hannah Schmitz added two.
It marked the last game for Aubrey seniors Taylor Gardiner, Shelby Saxon and Natalie Gatusso, who all made their first playoff appearances in Hodge’s third season.
“I’ve had them for three years, and I’m proud of them because we started out not winning many games and now we made the playoffs,” Hodge said.
With five players returning next season, Wright said she is excited and confident that Aubrey will return to the postseason.
“I’m more excited than I was this year,” Wright said. “I know we’re going to improve in the offseason, and I know we’re going to be back here next year.”
Decatur 46, Aubrey 35
Aubrey (13-14) — Kendyl Wright 27, Scarlett Gregory 6, Hannah Schmitz 2.
Decatur (24-5) — Shelby Drews 22, Makayla Mayfield 12, Murphy Graham 5, Haley Dennard 3, Traci Hale 2, Jasmyne Tate 2.