Lady Eagles’ rally falls short in bi-district

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, February 15, 2017
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The Decatur Lady Eagles fought back from an 11-point deficit in the first quarter to take a halftime lead.

But after seven turnovers and being held to just four points in the third, the Lady Eagles needed a second comeback. Behind senior Hannah Dunning, Decatur rallied to get within two in the final minute, but Wilmer-Hutchins thwarted the comeback with its quickness and big free throws down the stretch.

Wilmer-Hutchins killed precious seconds off the clock and went 8-for-9 from the stripe in the fourth quarter to secure the 48-43 Class 4A Region II bi-district win at Frisco’s Lebanon Trail High School.

“I was proud of the way we came back two different times,” said Decatur coach Billy Garner. “I’m proud of the effort we gave. We don’t see that kind of pressure all the time. We had some chances. You have to give them credit. They made their free throws down the stretch.”

Wilmer-Hutchins advances to Aubrey, who upset District 12-4A champion Crandall, in the area round.

The loss ended Decatur’s season at 17-14. Decatur took the second seed in 9-4A despite starting the season with only two returning starters.

“They played well defensively all year,” Garner said. “To hold that team to 40 is not a bad defensive job. They did more than expected and overachieved all year. I’m proud of them.”

It was the final game for four Decatur seniors — Dunning, Shaylee Smith, Abbie Heiens and Julianne Tynsky.

Dunning, a four-year letterman, poured in 21 points in her final game. She hit three 3-pointers and went 10-for-12 at the line.

“She wanted to win to keep going and she played hard,” Garner said.

With her team trailing by eight heading into the fourth quarter, Dunning hit a pair of 3-pointers and then made a drive to the basket with 42 seconds left to pull Decatur within two, 45-43.

Decatur couldn’t get closer as Wilmer-Hutchins hit three of four at the line to close out the game.

“It’s been a long four years, but I wanted it to be way longer,” Dunning said.

“This year was a huge transition from the other three years. A lot of us had to step up and fill spots. We proved everyone wrong.”

Foul trouble plagued the Lady Eagles throughout the night. Starting guards Kylee Fitzgerald and Abbie Heiens picked up two fouls in the first quarter. Without the two on the floor for extended periods, Wilmer-Hutchins turned up the defensive pressure and forced most of Decatur’s 22 turnovers.

“It hurt us a bunch getting into foul trouble,” Garner said.

Wilmer-Hutchins went on a 12-0 run to take a 15-4 lead late in the opening frame.

As the quarter was closing, Dunning banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The shot started a 12-2 run for Decatur. A pair of free throws from Dunning pulled Decatur within a point, 17-16.

Smith, who had 13 points, put Decatur in front with three minutes left in the half. The Lady Eagles held a 26-23 lead at halftime.

Decatur stayed in front until Wilmer-Hutchins closed the third with nine straight points. Tyrah Owens’ buzzer-beating trey put Wilmer-Hutchins up 38-30.

Owens and Alexssa Armstead finished with 15 apiece.

Wilmer-Hutchins 48, Decatur 43

Decatur 7 19 4 13 – 43

WHutchins 15 8 15 10 – 48

Decatur (17-14) — Kylee Fitzgerald 1, Shaylee Smith 13, Abbie Heiens 4, Abby Grimes 2, Hannah Dunning 21, Madison Kyle 2.

Wilmer-Hutchins — Alexssa Armstead 15, La’Teaira Watson 9, Ti’Ara Clark 5, Tyrah Owens 15, Shayla Jones 4.

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