By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor
For the six seniors on McKinney Boyd’s roster, Friday night was the final time they would walk on their home court as Lady Bronco players. Unfortunately, the final home basketball game will be remembered as four quarters of missed opportunities.
With Plano East’s Jasmine Caston, who is averaging 18 points per game, suspended from the game for earning her second technical foul, Boyd had a prime chance to earn its third district win of the season and force a tie with McKinney High for fourth place in District 10-5A with one game remaining.
But it didn’t happen. After holding Boyd’s Julia Hendrieth to just nine points, Plano East defeated the Lady Broncos 54-49 to improve to 4-5 in district play and seal a playoff spot in 10-5A. Boyd dropped to 2-7 in 10-5A and 12-19 overall.
The Lady Broncos had the early momentum in the game throughout the first quarter, busting out an 11-0 run in the middle of the quarter to give them a 14-7 lead, led by junior Haley Carruthers’ five points. Carruthers would finish with a team-high 14 points.
Plano East would not be held down for long. The Lady Panthers scored the quarter’s final seven points to pull the game to a 14-14 tie heading into the second quarter. After both teams traded baskets in the early minutes, Plano East’s Kennedy Munson and Aareonce Austin took over the game, scoring 11 of the team’s 14 points in the frame.
At the break the Lady Broncos found themselves down 28-24, while their leading scorer Hendrieth, who averaged 15 points per game in eight district games, had just one point through one half of basketball.
In the second half, the Lady Broncos could never catch up to a feisty Lady Panthers offense that knocked down six shots from beyond the arc. Boyd pulled to within two points after back-to-back lay-ups by Hendrieth to begin the third quarter, but Plano East would finish the frame on a 13-6 run to take a 43-34 lead into the final eight minutes.
The Lady Panthers shot their way to a 13-point lead with a little more than five minutes remaining in the fourth, forcing the Lady Broncos to score on practically every possession down the stretch. Plano East certainly didn’t make it easy on itself, missing five of eight free throw attempts in the quarter that would have iced the game away much sooner.
After pulling to within seven points after a Natalie Maina layup, Boyd allowed a basket by Letty Bornstad with 1:57 left to extend the lead back to nine. The Lady Broncos followed the score with a turnover and a missed shot in their following two possessions, all but sealing their fate in the game.
Following the loss, Boyd head coach Rochelle Vaughn thought her team was lacking one important attribute on Friday night.
“I don’t think we competed,” said Vaughn. “I thought we had a couple players come out and compete, but as a group I don’t think we competed for all four quarters. I think we have to mature a little bit as far as our mentality when we play basketball.”
Since it was Senior Night at Boyd, all six senior players saw playing time, with three of the girls recording points. In addition to Hendrieth’s nine points, Mariah Richardson finished with eight points and Micaela Gonzalez had five points off the bench.
“It was the seniors’ last game so I wanted them to have a good memory here tonight,” said Vaughn. “I wanted our seniors to have a positive experience tonight, but obviously that wasn’t that case. I think this is bigger than basketball and wins and loses right now though. It is about improving as people.”
This is Vaughn’s first season as the head coach of the Lady Broncos and the only season with these six seniors, but said after the game that she wishes they could stay in the program for one more year and keep playing.
“I think they are a great group of young ladies. I wish we had more time with them than what we had. As a group I thought these seniors were amazing and they will go on to do great things when they leave McKinney Boyd,” said Vaughn.
With McKinney High’s 30-28 road victory over Allen, the Lionettes improved to 3-6 in district play and one full game ahead of Boyd and the Lady Eagles for fourth place with one game remaining. The two crosstown rivals will meet Tuesday night at MHS with the Lady Broncos needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Lionettes can clinch the fourth seed in 10-5A with a win. The game tips off at 6 p.m.
District 10-5A Girls Standings:
1. Plano – x 8-1
1. Plano West – x 8-1
3. Plano East – x 4-5
4. McKinney 3-6
5. Allen 2-7
5. McKinney Boyd 2-7
x – Clinched Playoff Berth
Friday’s 10-5A Girls Scores:
Plano West 58
Plano East 54
McKinney Boyd 49
Tuesday’s 10-5A Girls Games:
Bottom team listed is home. Boyd-MHS and Allen-Plano begin at 6 p.m., and West-East begins at 7:30 p.m.