AUSTIN — In their first appearance in the state tournament, the Aledo Bearcats lost 64-44 to perennial powerhouse Dallas Lincoln in the Class 4A semifinals Thursday night at the Erwin Center.
For one quarter, it looked as if Aledo (30-8) might upset Lincoln, making its 13th state appearance.
But a 17-minute field-goal drought ended the Bearcats’ hopes against the Tigers, who advanced to their first state final since 2008.
Aledo opened the game with seven consecutive points and built an early 12-3 advantage. The Bearcats made six of their first 10 shots to lead 17-10 after the first quarter.
But Aledo did not make another field goal until the fourth quarter, with Dallas Lincoln leading 44-29.
The Bearcats missed five field-goal attempts in the second quarter and scored only three points. Aledo did not score until Megan Wood drilled two free throws with 3:22 left in the first half.
With Aledo fading, Dallas Lincoln (36-4) picked up the tempo and scored the first nine points of the second quarter to take its first lead of the game. The Tigers finished the half on a 24-8 run to take a 27-20 lead into the break.
“I felt like we lost it in the second quarter,” Aledo coach Rusty Johnson said. “If we could have been closer at the half I felt like we would be more confident.”
Aledo turned the ball over 15 times in the first half against swarming defensive pressure from Lincoln.
“I think the press was the biggest problem for us,” said Aledo junior Mallory Powell, who scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “We kind of got angry at ourselves and I think we should have been more confident.”
It was more of the same in the third quarter. The Bearcats scored seven points from the free throw line, but none from the field as they fell behind 44-27.
By the time Aledo started to make shots again in the fourth quarter, it was too late.
Thursday’s game ended Aledo’s season, but the Bearcats said they were still proud of the most successful season in school history.
“This year has been a journey for us,” junior Kaylee Black said. “It felt like every game we kept getting better and having more confidence as a team. But there’s always things like this that happen.”
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