KRUM — Late in the third quarter of Friday’s District 9-3A matchup, Sanger’s depleted lineup took small chunks out of Krum’s lead and trimmed the deficit to five points.
But as quickly as Sanger gained momentum, Krum stifled what the Lady Indians had going.
Krum point guard Rachel Wallace pulled up from the left side and calmly drained a 3-pointer midway through the third, sparking a huge run to end the quarter and lifting Krum to a 60-45 victory at Bennie Enis Gym.
Wallace finished with 26 points and seven rebounds — one point shy of her season high.
“I’ve got kids that have been making shots all year long,” Krum coach Lana Degelia said. “Tonight was Rachel’s night to do that.”
Julia Schmaltz added 14 points and Allison Beck added eight for the Lady Cats (19-4, 3-0 district). Krum is ranked third in Class 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
Wallace’s 3-pointer in the third was the first of 13 straight Lady Cat points to close out the quarter and give Krum a 48-30 lead.
Sanger kept battling and reeled off seven straight points to start the fourth quarter. Krum answered again and held on for the victory.
Sanger was without injured starters Kristen Bradley, Morgan Turkoly and Brittany Donaldson. To fill the void, Sanger started freshmen Carissa Spiker and Jacy Beam, who each scored 10 points for the Lady Indians (13-12, 0-2). Sanger was led by Natalie Castillo’s 11 points.
Krum scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points, forcing the Lady Indians to play catch-up.
Wallace started the second quarter like she started the first. The senior made her first three shots of the quarter, including two 3-pointers. Wallace made six of her nine shots in the first half and had 15 points at the break.
Wallace’s only points in the fourth quarter came on four free throws down the stretch, while Schmaltz and Beck combined for eight points to help the Lady Cats hang on.
“We had a couple of times where we had two, three minutes of bad spells, and that’s the difference in the game,” Sanger coach Jack Armstrong said.
Sanger 61, Krum 59
Sanger and Krum couldn’t have picked a more exciting and enthralling way to start its newfound rivalry. In front of a raucous crowd, Sanger’s Tanner Thomas hit two free throws with two seconds left to give the Indians a comeback victory.
It was the first District 9-3A game for both schools.
“When you only have eight district games, it’s huge,” Sanger coach Rob Sikora said. “You can’t afford to drop winnable games in district.”
Brennan Bloom led Sanger with 15 points and Tyler Roelofs added 11.
Krum had four players in double figures, led by 15 points from Tyler Starnes.
For a while in the fourth quarter, it didn’t look as if Sanger (11-12) was going to win. Sanger trailed by as many as nine points. Tanner Thomas knocked down a 3-pointer deep in the right corner to cut the gap to three with 4:06 left, causing Krum coach Sam Anderson to call a timeout.
The teams traded baskets from that point on, with each side’s fans roaring with each made shot.
Roelofs tied the game at 59 with less than 30 seconds to go. Krum got the ball and eventually called timeout with 11.6 seconds left.
Coming out of the timeout, Krum’s Zack Hughes drove down the middle of the court and appeared to be fouled as he fired off a shot, but no call was made.
The loose ball sputtered toward the middle of the court. Sanger snatched the ball and fired a pass to Thomas on the other end. Krum’s Reed Flores fouled Thomas to prevent an easy basket.
Bloom ran down the court to prevent Sanger fans from spilling onto the court prematurely, and Thomas sank both free throws to put the Indians ahead.
Sikora said Thomas shot about 90 percent from the free-throw line last season and is hitting at 80 percent this year, making him a prime choice to seal the victory.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better kid to be at the free-throw line,” Sikora said.
Anderson said he was proud of the way his team fought throughout the night, something that the Bobcats (9-18) will have to do throughout district play.
Krum 60, Sanger 45
Sanger 6 15 9 15 — 45
Krum 15 14 19 12 — 60
Sanger — Natalie Castillo 11, Carissa Spiker 10, Jacy Beam 10, Candace Prater 8, Brooke Lewis 4, Allie Mullican 2.
Krum — Rachel Wallace 26, Julia Schmaltz 14, Allison Beck 8, Diamond Martinez 6, Callie Craddock 4, Caylee Thomas 2.
Sanger 61, Krum 59
Sanger 8 16 15 20 — 61
Krum 10 22 16 11 — 59
Krum — Tyler Starnes 15, Tanner Rankin 14, Travis White 11, Zack Hughes 10, Colten Lucas 4, Ely Sanchez 3, Nick Perches 2.
Sanger — Brennan Bloom 15, Tyler Roelofs 11, Jake Stastny 8, Tanner Thomas 7, Wyatt Broxson 6, Drew Lyons 6, Joe Doles 4, Wilding Smith 2, Cody Howard 2.