There’s no doubt that Bushland has to see Idalou as a nemesis considering the results of the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
The fact that the Lady Falcons came far closer this year to getting past Idalou was of little consolation Tuesday night at the Randall Gym.
In a game where neither team boasted a double-digit lead, Bushland actually got it down to one possession after Brooklyn Boyett hit a late 3-pointer. It was a nice last shot of the season to make, but it didn’t lead to another one, as Idalou held on to defeat the Lady Falcons 45-42 in a Class 3A region quarterfinal playoff game.
Last season these two teams met in the same round of the postseason with much more lopsided results. Idalou crushed Bushland 70-38, but it was pretty obvious from the get-go of this one that the Lady Falcons (28-9) were a different team.
“We felt like we had a chance to get after ‘em,” Bushland coach Ty Mayfield said. “They knocked us out last year but we thought we had some things ready for them. They’re good and they’re physical and we just couldn’t hit the shot when we needed it.”
Offensive struggles for both teams were established in the first half.
Neither team distinguished itself offensively as points were hard to come by. Idalou’s 19-14 halftime lead equaled the biggest margin either team held in the first two quarters.
Bushland actually got off quicker, scoring the first five points of the game. But the Lady Falcons only managed three more field goals the entire first half.
It didn’t help the Lady Falcons that their leading scorer, Emma Troxell, didn’t score in the first half, as she seemed to have a hand in her face every time she touched the ball.
“Everybody we’ve played has had something for (Troxell) like that,” Mayfield said. “That’s what you do to a good player is try to limit their touches. I thought the girls did a better job against that as the game went along finding a way to score.”
Idalou (25-12) led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter and clung to that lead the rest of the half.
By contrast, the Lady Wildcats were carried by Logan Heard, who scored eight of her 11 first half points in the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers. Heard, who carried Idalou with a game-high 22 points, has committed to play for West Texas A&M.
After that first quarter, Bushland never led. However, Idalou never managed to pull away, as a pair of eight-point leads early in the fourth quarter were the biggest cushion the Lady Wildcats enjoyed.
“We knew what happened last year was anomaly,” Idalou coach Tyler Helms said. “We got after them pretty good and we knew it wasn’t going to be like that this year. They’re well-coached and they have one of the best players in the state.”
That would be Troxell, who despite a tough night with only seven points, hit a pair of big fourth quarter shots to keep the Lady Falcons alive. Troxell hit a 3-pointer and an off-balance runner, both of which cut Idalou’s lead to two.
But the Lady Wildcats put the game away at the free throw line, especially heard, who hit 7-of-8 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 45-39 in the final seconds, Troxell drove inside and kicked the ball out to the top of the key to Boyett, who hit a 3-pointer. The Lady Falcons called timeout, but with only 1.2 seconds left, there wasn’t enough time to convert a miracle steal and a three.
Boyett led Bushland with 14 points, 12 of them in the second half, and Chloe Cochran scored 12.
Bushland 8 14 26 42
Idalou 9 19 31 45
B– Brooklyn Boyett 14, Chloe Cochran 12. I– Logan Heard 22, Kira Fox 8. Records: Bushland 28-9; Idalou 25-12.