Tivy caught fire in the final 1:19 of the first quarter and mustered up enough offense to compliment a massive defensive lockdown on the way to beating state-ranked New Braunfels Canyon, 34-25, Friday at Antler Gym — a victory that moved the Lady Antlers within one win of wrapping another District 26-5A playoff berth.
Canyon entered the contest ranked No. 22 in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, and claimed Tivy as one of its district victims back in December. The Lady Antlers’ win marked only the second district loss sustained by the Cougarettes.
“The girls played hard and it was a good win,” Tivy coach Christy Dill said after watching her team improve to 9-4 in district play and 12-8 overall. “We have three games left and had to get a win if we wanted to make a playoff spot.”
Tivy is scheduled to play at Boerne Champion Tuesday and host Dripping Springs Friday before hitting the road Saturday to face Buda Johnson. The game with Johnson was originally scheduled Jan. 29, but COVID protocols in place for the Jaguars postponed the contest. A win in any of the three games qualifies Tivy to postseason for the 13th time in Dill’s 14 years as head coach.
At the outset of Friday’s game, however, it appeared that Canyon was as good as its ranking and intent on a rare sweep of the Lady Antlers. The Cougarettes pulled ahead 10-4 with 2:49 in the first quarter after an 8-2 outburst that followed Tivy’s Jaida Davis knotting the score at 2-2 with a bucket.
But Tivy prides itself on tough defensive performances, and from 1:19 left in the opening stanza to the 4:41 mark of the second quarter the Lady Antlers held Canyon scoreless. Meanwhile, Tivy used baskets by Ashlee Zirkel, Laila Casillas and Cassidy Harmon to pull within a point, 10-9, at the end of the opening stanza.
Zirkel, who led Tivy with 18 points, including a trio of treys, hit consecutive three pointers in the second quarter, and Ashlynn Way added two free throws plus a field goal as the Lady Antlers outscored Canyon 14-4 to build a 23-14 halftime advantage. Zirkel scored 11 of her game-high points in the quarter.
The second half saw a dead-even 11-11 scoring duel between the two teams as Tivy answered Canyon’s 8-5 third quarter scoring edge by doubling up the Cougarettes 6-3 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. The Lady Antlers’ largest lead was 28-16.
Way finished with five points, Riley Dill added four more, Harmon scored three, and Davis and Casillas chipped in two points each. Laurel Pruitt and Stella Hendricks contributed time as well, with Hendricks’ steal and assist to Harmon triggering Tivy’s late surge in the first quarter.
“Defensively we talked about getting hands to eyes,” Christy Dill said. “We wanted to keep Canyon out of the post area, and we did a better job than when we played them at their place. Defensively we set a goal of making three stops in a row, or a kill as we like to refer to it, and we did that.
“Offensively we moved the ball around against their zone and got some better shots,” Dill added.
In sub-varsity play Friday, Tivy’s junior varsity fell to visiting District 26-5A rival New Braunfels Canyon, 42-38, and the Lady Antlers’ freshmen dropped a 25-21 decision to the Cougarettes.
Solaya Gorham paced Tivy’s JV with 15 points, My Tran Dang followed with eight, and Desiree Abrigo scored six.
In the freshman game, Tivy’s Emri Ramos scored 10 points, Hailey Wayand netted eight, Aislynn Brown added two, and Elexus Ramirez sank a free throw.
NEW BRAUNFELS – Tivy’s second-round District 26-5A tour continued to pay dividends Friday as the Antlers beat New Braunfels Canyon, 53-47, to claim a fifth-straight loop victory and sixth consecutive win overall.
The Antlers were led by Caleb Hebert-Dwyer with 16 points and Jackson Johnston with 11. Hebert-Dwyer’s totals included four three-pointers as the Antlers improved to 7-5 in district play and 9-11 overall.
Trailing 28-21 at the half, Tivy outperformed the Cougars 32-19 after the break and also got contributions from Caleb Fineske with nine points, Jaden Frausto with eight, Quentin Vega with seven and Jake Layton with two.
In sub-varsity play, Tivy’s junior varsity topped District 26-5A rival Buda Johnson on Tuesday at Antler Gym, 64-49, behind 24 points from Mason Carlile and 10 apiece from Michael McDuffie and Cade Braaten.
The Antlers followed up Friday with a 48-43 loop win over host New Braunfels Canyon. Braaten led the way with 15 points, McDuffie scored 11 and Carlile followed with 10.
In freshman action, Tivy dropped a close contest with Buda Johnson, 38-34, last Tuesday at Antler Gym despite a 14-point night from Brandon Ramirez.