GEORGE WEST—This time, the Pleasanton girls basketball team couldn’t complete the comeback.
After making up a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to upset Devine in the first round, the Lady Eagles could not quite get over the hump Friday against Aransas Pass.
Pleasanton got as close as two points in the final quarter, but the Lady Panthers thwarted the rally with a 7-0 run that set up a 36-31 area-round win at George West High School.
It was the second time after halftime Aransas Pass had a critical spurt to hold off the underdogs.
The Lady Eagles cut a six-point deficit to 23-22 with 3:07 in the third period on a layup by senior Aubrey Guerra, who led all scorers with 19 points. The Lady Panthers answered with six straight points to lead 29-22 going into the fourth quarter.
“I give it up to Pleasanton. Pleasanton did a good job,” Aransas Pass coach Christina Reyna said. “They hustled, and they did what they could. We did what we came here to do.”
Lady Panthers post Anastasia Brown had four points during the run and eight in the frame. The sophomore finished with a team-high 18 points.
“She stepped up,” Reyna said of Brown. “That’s what we’ve been working on, to be prepared for this. She stepped up and did her job.”
The Aransas Pass advantage was 29-27 after a Guerra bucket with 3:40 remaining. On the next possession, Sheila Cabrera banked in a 3-pointer to spark the decisive Lady Panthers burst. The basket from the top of the key accounted for the freshman’s only points.
“The girls played really tough,” Pleasanton coach Daryl Rentfro said. “They didn’t back down from it. A few shots go the other way, and we’re on the other side of [the result].”
Freshman Makhileigh Brown scored all seven of her points in the first half as Aransas Pass led 19-13. The Lady Panthers, whose only upperclassmen are a pair of seniors, got all but four points from sophomores and freshmen.
“It’s been a lot of trial and tribulation,” Reyna said of her young team. “There’s been a lot of adversity, a lot of growth and learning. It’s a learning process, but they’re coming along…It’s playoffs. This is what we work for.”
In contrast, all of the Lady Eagles’ points came from seniors. Rentfro, who is in his second year as head coach, said the group will always mean something to him.
“This senior class were freshmen when I got here, so I moved up with them and they moved up with me,” he said. “It’s been special the past four years to be around them. I consider it an honor to have been able to coach them.”
Pleasanton found itself in the second round for the first time since 1983 after a shocking win over state-ranked Devine. The Lady Eagles (15-18) pulled off the historic victory over the No. 22 Arabians after entering the playoffs as the fourth seed.
“It’s been really special,” Rentfro said. “We finally started putting things together. It’s just nice to see that the teamwork was jelling and everybody was really playing for each other. I told them we were going to be underdogs no matter who we play in the playoffs. They had to take that role and tell that other team ‘You have to take this from us.’ That’s what really helped us against Devine.”
While the momentum from the upset didn’t take Pleasanton farther in the playoffs, Rentfro hopes the program can build off the big win.
“I told them, especially the seniors, ‘What legacy do you want to leave?’” Rentfro said. “It’s a great legacy to leave to be the first team to win a bi-district championship in 35 years. Hopefully we can take that into the next few seasons and have the younger group hungry for their own.”