The Muenster Lady Hornets continued their parade through the playoffs Tuesday, Feb. 23, when they destroyed Tom Bean 80-28 in the Class 2A regional quarterfinal round.
As well as they played, head coach Chris Hightower said there wasn’t much time spent reflecting on the win.
“Now we get into the regional rounds and it’s definitely much tougher,” Hightower said. “We’ve already moved on from that. This group moves on so much better because the expectation and goal is much higher. Two years ago, this was a big win, but this is the third regional tournament for this group. It was expected and it’s business as usual. They’re able to move on pretty quick.”
Muenster ousted Como-Pickton 53-17 in the area round, but the Lady Hornets struggled offensively from outside.
Against Tom Bean, the Lady Hornets broke out offensively and led 42-7 at halftime.
“Last game we didn’t shoot it well and it was our poorest shooting performance,” Hightower said. “Last night, it was 22-3 after the first quarter. We played great defense like we always do, but we shot the ball well and it was within what we normally do. Annie [Anderle] hit. Jada [Binder] hit. Martie [McCoy] had a big game. I think we were up 30 at half.”
Hightower said the team excelled in its zone offense, which caters to shots from its wing players.
“Jada and Annie being the shooters they are, they’re in good positions to make shots,” Hightower said. “We work those game shots a lot. They’ve got a good feel for those shots. We have a certain progression for what we do and they typically find the right person.”
The Lady Hornets were led by Anderle, who shot the lights out of the gym with 37 points in just 25 minutes with nine 3-pointers while also going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Hightower said he was glad to see Anderle bounce back from her 15-point performance against Como-Pickton.
“She really struggled against Como-Pickton from the outside,” Hightower said. “She has shot the ball very well from the outside all year long and she was 1-for-10 on Friday and she hit nine 3s this game. You can kind of see it in her eyes sometimes. She’s become such a killer. In the past, she may think about it if she misses too many, but now she doesn’t. That was last night.”
McCoy was second on the team in scoring with 16 points while Audrey Kubis had 11 points and Binder added nine points.
With such a lofty lead at halftime, Hightower said it was a quick speech with nothing to gripe about.
“There wasn’t a whole lot to say,” Hightower said. “We were right back on the floor and in the third quarter, we preach all year long about not letting up. The girls really responded. We had a big third quarter that really pushed it up.”
Muenster backed up its explosive first half with a 29-point third quarter.
Defensively, the Lady Hornets held Tom Bean to three points in the first quarter, four in the second quarter and five in the third frame.
“We prepped so hard for every team no matter their record,” Hightower said. “Our coaching staff works really, really hard to have the kids prepared. We hang our hat on defense. We scouted Tom Bean really hard. We were ready for that stuff. There wasn’t anything we didn’t know was coming. Annie puts a lot of pressure on the ball and that sets the tone and it was a team effort. All five girls did well.”
With Cisco knocking off the favored Haskell, Hightower and the coaching staff has to rerack and begin grinding film for Cisco.
“That’s on me too which is putting my eggs in one basket,” Hightower said of already scouting Haskell. “Cisco is a good team and they’re a fourth place team out of the district, but they might be one of the best districts in the state. Cisco is a good team. We’re going to work and we’ll be prepared.”
Still, Cisco, which Muenster will face Friday, Feb. 26, in Mineral Wells, is 19-8 on the season with a 9-5 district record – something Hightower said is a testament to their talent.
“They just dropped down from 3A in the last alignment and they came over from Region I which is a pretty tough region,” Hightower said. “Defensively, they can do a little bit of full-court pressure and their defense is pretty similar to ours in the half court. They’ve got some size and they’ve got a pair of sisters that are 6-1 or 6-2. As a group, they shoot the ball very well from the outside.”