Matching up with a district rival in the Class 2A regional quarterfinal game Thursday, Feb. 25, the Lindsay Lady Knights knew they were going to have their hands full with Alvord.
In their first two meetings with the Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Knights fell by an average of over 31 points a game.
But the rubber match Thursday in Sanger was a much different story.
Lindsay led early in the game and trailed by just four points at halftime, but the third quarter belonged to Alvord.
The Lady Bulldogs outscored Lindsay 19-11 and held on in the fourth to pull away for the 60-47 win to end the Lady Knights’ season, but after the game, there were nothing but smiles on the players’ faces.
They knew they had given it all they had.
“It was our best game of the year by far, even though we lost,” Lindsay head coach Scott Brandewie said. “I told the girls to turn it into a dogfight in a phone booth. I couldn’t be prouder. We got out there and fought with everything we had. It was better than our two playoff wins. I’m happy. If there is such a thing to be happy after a loss, I couldn’t be happier.”
Brandewie said the Lady Knights did everything he wanted. In the end, the Lady Bulldogs were just too much to handle.
“We switched into a 2-1-2 zone and made them shoot 3s,” Brandewie said. “They didn’t hurt us with their 3s, but it wasn’t quite enough because their press is so good that the points they got off our turnovers is what killed us. We need to protect the ball a little bit more in our press break and make a couple more shots, but we were right there.”
Alvord led 26-22 at halftime, but Brandewie said the Lady Knights were in a great spot. However, Alvord scored the first few buckets of the third quarter and used that 10-point cushion to help close out the game.
Brandewie said he knew the third frame would be crucial.
“I told the team that they need to be ready for the best that Alvord has because they were in a tight spot and we were in a good spot,” Brandewie said. “They came out and pressed hard and got the first few buckets of the third quarter. Their individual, one-on-one pressure was so good. They’re so good at pressuring the ball and anticipating where the next pass is going to go and stealing it.”
Lindsay’s offense was led by 12 points each from Allison Hedrick and Kyla Metzler. The Lady Knights hung in the game in the first half with their outside shooting, but that dried up in the second half thanks to better closeouts from the Lady Bulldogs.
“They were being more aggressive on the outside and they were more content getting in front of the ball instead of trying to steal,” Brandewie said. “We just didn’t knock down enough shots and we turned the ball over too many times and that killed us.”
The Lady Knights also struggled to rebound against Alvord and Brandewie said that’s one of the reasons he doesn’t like to employ a zone defense.
“When you’re in man-to-man, you know who you’re supposed to block out and they were able to get the backside rebound a ton,” Brandewie said. “We just didn’t practice it enough.”
The Lady Knights downed Era for a playoff seeding game for the third seed out of District 13-2A. Brandewie said many people had them penciled in for the fourth seed.
Lindsay also took down higher seeds to start the playoffs in Bland and Alba-Golden.
“Nobody would have been surprised if we lost the first game and everybody thought we were going to lose to Alba-Golden,” Brandewie said. “If you looked at their stats, they were rolling teams, but we broke their press and we played good defense.”
Lindsay finished the season at 15-9.
Brandewie was in his first year as head coach for Lindsay and he said the playoff experience the Lady Knights gained will be key for the program moving forward.
“They just played so hard,” Brandewie said. “I couldn’t ask for more as a coach. We have a bright future. My goal for the seniors was for them to have a good year. I wanted the younger girls to start understanding my system and have something to build off. If we follow my plan, we’ll be good next year. If the girls are willing to work, this program is going to keep going up.”