CORINTH — Sometimes it’s easier to lose games in the playoffs than it is to win them. Krum found that out Tuesday night.
The Lady Cats battled feverishly for the better part of the second half of their Class 3A Region II bi-district game against Frisco Lone Star, finally nabbing a one-point lead with 2:21 left on the clock. But it was the Lady Rangers who went on the final tear, holding Krum scoreless in the process for a 39-34 win.
“It’s the same stuff we’ve been battling all year. It’s our Achilles’ heel to make those same mistakes in the last two minutes of games,” Krum coach Lana Degelia said. “Lone Star executed and hit the shots it needed to and we simply didn’t.”
Lone Star (20-9) moves on to face Melissa in the area round, while the Lady Cats, who were making its 10th straight playoff appearance, suffered a rare early exit just one year after advancing to the state semifinals.
Krum (17-17) fell behind by three with just over a minute to play thanks to a costly turnover, then missed two potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 12 seconds.
The second missed 3 was perhaps the hardest to swallow as it came right after Lone Star’s Zoie Miller missed two free throws that could have iced the game with 11 seconds left. The Lady Cats quickly set up for its final play, but MacKenzie Ripple’s prayer with 1.7 seconds left was off the mark.
Miller led the Lady Rangers with 21 points, while Whitney Apari added 11. Krum got 11 points from Caylee Thomas and six points each from Ripple and Haley White.
The Lady Cats struggled in the early stages of the game as Lone Star built an 8-0 lead and still led by seven heading into the second quarter. But Krum’s 6-0 run in the closing minutes of the half trimmed the deficit to five. The Lady Cats opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to knot the game at 22.
Miller gave the Lady Rangers the lead on their next possession, but Krum’s Thomas drilled a 3-pointer with 2:29 left in the frame for a 25-24 lead.
The lead changed hands two more times as the game went to the fourth quarter, then Haley Lewis gave the Lady Cats their final lead with 2:21 remaining.
It looked like the momentum swung further in Krum’s favor when Lone Star was called for an illegal screen with 1:55 to play, but the Lady Cats couldn’t do anything with its next possession. Lone Star went ahead by one point off a layup from Bria Greene, then forced a turnover and scored again for a 37-34 advantage.
“We could have rolled over early in this one, but these girls didn’t do that and I’m proud of them for that,” Degelia said. “They understand that it’s all about playing one possession at a time and believing in each other. They never give up.”
Frisco Lone Star 39, Krum 34
Frisco Lone Star
Krum (17-17) — Caylee Thomas 11, Haley White 6, MacKenzie Ripple 6, Sadie Mae 3, Kylee Myers 4, Haley Lewis 4.
Frisco Lone Star (20-9) — Whitney Apari 11, Taylor Gaffney 5, Zoie Miller 21, Bria Greene 2.