NEW WAVERLY — It came down to the final day of the regular season, but once the dust settled, the New Waverly Lady Bulldogs emerged from the crowd on top.
New Waverly entered Tuesday night in a three-way tie for second place in District 23-3A, with Onalaska and visiting Hempstead also battling for the coveted No. 2 playoff seed.
The Lady Dogs took care of business at home — and the rest took care of itself. New Waverly blew out Hempstead 71-53, while Onalaska fell to Anderson-Shiro in its regular season finale.
As a result, the Lady Dogs finished in sole possession of second place, behind district champion Anderson-Shiro.
“This gives us a whole lot of confidence,” New Waverly head coach Donna Gilliam said. “We had that slip up last Friday (losing to Onalaska), so I told them it was a must-win. They were determined to not finish third, fourth or in a tie. They wanted to finish it.
“I told them we had to start fast and finish fast. They responded and played well down the stretch, so I'm proud of them. They stepped up to the challenge.”
Sierra McCann led the Lady Dogs with 18 points, while Shay Harris (17), E’Lexus Lawrence (15) and Angelica Alvarado (10) also scored in double figures.
Hempstead cut an early New Waverly lead down to 14-13 in the first quarter, but the Lady Dogs responded with a 15-1 run that put the game away — and gave the team’s six seniors one final happy memory on their home court.
“I have six of them this year, so they were pumped,” Gilliam added. “They said they wanted to go out with a bang, and this is going to carry us. I told them, 'Enjoy it tonight, because we have to get right back after it tomorrow.'"
New Waverly is set to play in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs early next week. Check itemonline.com/sports for updates on all high school playoff games in the Walker County area.