KRUM — Before three minutes had elapsed off the scoreboard Friday at Bennie Ennis Gym, Krum girls coach Lana Degelia had seen enough.
She hopped off the bench, tapped her shoulders and called timeout after Gainesville’s Brittany Royal drained a 3-pointer to put the Lady Leopards ahead by four.
After Degelia’s 30-second timeout, Krum reeled off 12 straight points and charged ahead to a 53-31 victory on senior night.
“We didn’t want to start getting into a domino effect, so you call that timeout, regroup them and get them back to where they’re supposed to be,” Degelia said. “With the senior night, some of them were pretty emotional. You have to remind them we’re here to play basketball.”
The game matched District 9-3A’s top two teams. Krum (24-5, 8-0 district) entered the contest with the district title and a first-round bye in the playoffs already secured. Gainesville is alone in second place and has secured its playoff berth.
On a night when Krum’s six seniors were honored at midcourt before the game, seniors Julia Schmaltz and Rachel Wallace carried the Lady Cats.
Schmaltz scored a game-high 19 points to go along with nine rebounds. Wallace, a Southeastern Oklahoma signee, scored 18 points.
Ariannah Kemp finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Leopards (20-10, 4-3).
Wallace played a key role in helping Krum shake off its sluggish start. The guard scored 10 of the team’s 13 points in the opening eight minutes. Then it was Schmaltz’s turn to take the leading role.
The senior poured in 14 of her 19 points in the game’s middle two quarters. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Lady Cats had a 15-point lead, and the Leopards never again trimmed the deficit below 12.
Schmaltz picked up most of her points near the basket, while Wallace made Gainesville pay from the perimeter.
“Julia and Rachel are such a great inside-outside combo for us,” Degelia said. “They can get each other going. That inside-out [game], they work it well. When one’s struggling, the other one picks it up.”
Gainesville coach Alan Driggers said his team committed too many mistakes against a senior-laden Krum squad. He also lamented his team’s ability to respond to Krum’s 12-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters — the run that helped the Lady Cats cap their undefeated district campaign.
“The game’s a game of runs, and Krum’s known to have runs,” Driggers said. “That didn’t surprise me, really. We just have to do a better job of responding to runs.”
Krum 66, Gainesville 64
The Krum Bobcats spent the entire fourth quarter clinging to the lead and fending off wave after wave of Gainesville momentum.
There were times when it looked as if Krum was going to fall short in the final moments, blow a 10-point fourth quarter lead and remain winless in 9-3A play.
But when Denzel Johnson’s full-court heave for Gainesville fell hopelessly to the hardwood as time expired, Bobcat fans let out a roar.
Bobcats coach Sam Anderson said it was the fourth time a game has come down to the final possession. This time, the outcome was in his team’s favor.
“Our kids played their hearts out in all four of those games, and we just didn’t get a bounce,” Anderson said. “From our standpoint, effort and preparation have been nothing different. We just finished this one.”
Prior to the game, the gym fell silent and hats were removed in honor of Krum native Caleb Moore. Moore died Thursday morning after a snowmobile accident at the Winter X Games.
Krum’s Tyler Starnes scored a game-high 21 points. Tanner Rankin added 13 points and Zack Hughes had 11.
David Moore and Johnson each scored 18 points for the Leopards.
After trailing by four at halftime, Krum (10-24, 1-5) outscored Gainesville 23-9 in the third quarter and took a 10-point lead into the fourth.
Gainesville (12-7, 4-1) picked up its first district loss.
“On the defensive end, we were horrible tonight,” Gainesville coach Eric Johns said. “That’s what’s won us a lot of games, and tonight we just didn’t play defense very well at all. Too many second shots, too many open looks. You can’t win games in this district that way.”
Rankin hit five of six free throws in the final quarter to help Krum keep its playoff hopes alive.
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Krum 53, Gainesville 31
Gainesville 7 5 11 8 — 31
Krum 13 9 16 15 — 53
Gainesville (20-10, 4-3) — Ariannah Kemp 16, Hali Smith 6, Brittany Royal 5, Chandler Kemp 4.
Krum (24-5, 8-0) — Julia Schmaltz 19, Rachel Wallace 18, Allison Beck 4, Callie Craddock 4, Kylee Myers 4, Caylee Thomas 2, Diamond Martinez 1, Caitlyn Arnold 1.
Krum 66, Gainesville 64
Gainesville 20 15 9 20 — 64
Krum 12 19 23 12 — 66
Gainesville (12-7, 4-1) — David Moore 18, Denzel Johnson 18, Demetrius Franklin 13, Johnathan Mendez 12, De’Quan Wilford 3.
Krum (10-24, 1-5) — Tyler Starnes 21, Tanner Rankin 13, Zack Hughes 11, Dane White 9, Nick Perches 2, Cade Wall 2, Ely Sanchez 2.