Starting ballgames red-hot from the floor and playing excellent defense carried the Devine Arabian basketball team all the way down to Kingsville for a Regional Semi-Final matchup against the Sweeny Bulldogs. The winner of that contest would then play Wharton for a shot to be the 4A team to advance to play in the Alamodome for a state championship this coming weekend. Unfortunately for the Arabians, that hot start from the floor didn’t happen on the cold hardwood in Kingsville as Devine lost the scoring battle to the quicker Bulldogs by the final score of 59 to 41.
“We got off to a cold start. I thought we got some good shots early in the game; we just couldn’t knock them down. Sweeny, on the other hand, shot the ball well in the first quarter and that really made it tough on us,” stated Head Coach Jim Sessions. “We tried to speed the game up in the second half in hopes of forcing some turnovers and getting back into the game, but Sweeny made plays when needed and kept us at an arms-length most of the game. The girls fought hard until the end of the game, but we were never able to make a good run that would allow us to get back into the game.”
Sweeny busted out a 20-point first quarter to take a 12-point lead into the second quarter. Although Devine was able to contain the Bulldogs a little better in the second quarter by holding them to a 12-point frame, the Arabians still found themselves down 32 to 17 going into the halftime intermission. Sweeny tacked on 4 additional points to their lead by outscoring Devine 15 to 11 in the third quarter, building an unsurmountable 47 to 28 advantage with only 8 minutes left in the Arabians season.
Devine shot 13 of 51 from the floor for 25% including only 4 of 19 from 3-point land for 21%. Sweeny was 47% from the floor connecting on 23 of 49 shots and 3 of 7 3-pointers for 43%. Free throws didn’t help close the gap as the Arabians made only 10 of 24 opportunities for 42%. The Bulldogs didn’t shoot many free throws but made 9 of 15 for 60%. Sweeny had a big advantage in the paint scoring 28 points while Devine had 14 from roughly the same distance.
Individually: Vanessa Oyola 13 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals; Preslee Quisenberry 9 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals; Chesney Friesenhahn 6 points, 9 rebounds,1 assist, 2 steals; Jenna Sadler 5 points, 6 rebounds; Julia Harrell 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot; Tori Martin 2 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals; Ariel Lopez 1 point, 1 rebound; Alissa Stehle 1 point, 1 rebound; Cassie Wood 1 rebound; Lily Stricker 1 rebound. Stephanie Ramos also contributed in the very successful Arabian season.
Coach Sessions final words about his Regional Tournament qualifying season, “Overall, I was very pleased with the way this season progressed. Some people felt this would be a rebuilding year for us after losing several key players off of last season’s team. This team decided early on that that was not going to be the case. Kids stepped up and assumed new roles from last year’s team. They worked hard all year and ended the season with a 28 and 5 overall record. They were undefeated district champions and they won championships in the Bi-District, Area, and the Regional Quarter-Final Rounds of the playoffs. This team was a fun group to coach and be around daily. It really was a joy to see them grow as individuals and as a team this season. I was very pleased with what they accomplished this season and very proud of them for advancing to the Regional Tournament.”