Lady Mules vs. Childress & Brownfield (2-16 & 20)
The Lady Mules may have surprised everyone except themselves by gathering up two gold balls this past week. The Childress Lady Cats are the District Champions of District 1-3A with 21 wins during the season and own a perfect 8-0 district run.
The Lady Mules had to chip away at a Lady Cat lead most of the night but Conley Niblett took the ball half way down the lane and drew the defense. She spun, fired a pass to Sadie Sudduth open at the top of the key.
When the ball touched Sa. Sudduth’s finger tips her feet left the floor and she launched a rainbow 3-pointer that struck gold. Only 14 seconds were left in the game as the ball swished through the net. The shot gave the Lady Mules a 47-44 lead. Childress was not able to answer before the final buzzer.
“What a great night for the Lady Mules,” said Lady Mule coach Carey Sudduth. “These kids have been amazing and have played so many close and heartbreaking games. They have hung together and learned from those situations and it paid off tonight.”
“Our theme this week has been to ‘play present.’ We have been emphasizing trying to play one possession at a time. We can’t take back mistakes and we can’t do anything about the future.”
“Play only the possession that is happening right now. You could see the kids talking to each other tonight about those things.”
“We have not played much man defense but it saved us tonight. We went to it in the final five minutes and seemed to take them out of their rhythm. A great effort by our girls tonight and we are very excited about moving on in the Playoffs.”
The Brownfield Lady Cubs had defeated the Lady Mules in the first game of the season and had racked up an impressive record of 24-11. The Cubs had defeated Alpine 50-19 for Bi-District.
Sa. Sudduth, Shanice Rosas and Conley Niblett all fouled out Friday night in the double overtime rough-and-tumble game. Dani Diaz, a Lady Mule senior, was not ready for the season to end and put the game on her shoulders.
She made a driving lay up to tie the game in regulation to force the OT. D. Diaz made both baskets for the Lady Mules in the first overtime to keep the game tied. In what turned out to be the final four minutes of the game, D. Diaz made eight-of-eight free throws to clinch the 63-61 win for the Lady Mules second gold ball.
“Every girl in black contributed to our win tonight over Brownfield,” continued Coach Sudduth after the Area game. “They played like they are on a mission. We were not happy with the way we were playing back in December but these kids have really turned things around.”
The Lady Mules jumped in front of Childress early but the Lady Cats came back to claim a 16-10 advantage by the end of the opening period. Niblett made a free throw for the Lady Mules’ first point. She added two more charity tosses before the period ended.
Sa. Sudduth made a pair of baskets and Sydnie Sudduth drove for a hoop. Yvonne Diaz was fouled shooting and made a free throw.
The Lady Mules began to chip away at the six point deficit in the second period. Sa. Sudduth made a jump shot from inside the arc to start the second quarter. She later drove through the defense for a lay up.
Niblett chipped in a free throw and scored in the paint before the period ended. Sa. Sudduth beat the buzzer with a baseline jumper. The Lady Mules had trimmed two points off the Childress lead and trailed 23-19 at the half.
D. Diaz opened the third period with a free throw and chipped in two more before the quarter ended. Niblett continued to patrol the lane and made a free throw and a reverse lay up before the quarter ended. Sa. Sudduth made a driving lay up to finish a fast break. The Lady Mules had cut the Lady Cat lead to 29-27 with one period left to play.
D. Diaz finished a fast break just 18 seconds into the final frame to tie the game. Sa. Sudduth broke the tie with a trey from the top of the key and later added a free throw.
Childress would not go away and sank three 3-pointers in the final eight minutes and was six-of-seven from the free throw line.
Y. Diaz put back an offensive rebound and Sy. Sudduth drove for a hoop. Rosas scored from the blocks to give the Lady Mules a brief 43-42 lead.
Sa. Sudduth led the Lady Mules with 19 points. Niblett finished with 12 points and D. Diaz made all seven of her points in the second half. Sy. Sudduth added four points, Rosas two and Y. Diaz chipped in one.
The Cubs had taken a one-point lead over the Lady Mules after one quarter. The Lady Mules exploded for 19 points in the second period to claim a 31-23 lead over Brownfield. The Cubs chipped away and tied the game at the end of regulation and stayed even through one OT. Fouls took out three Lady Mules and four Cubs.
Niblett was fouled shooting in the paint and made both from the charity line to open the Area game in Littlefield. She added a hoop before the period ended. Sa. Sudduth hit a jumper from the elbow and Sy. Sudduth made a pair of driving lay ups. D. Diaz was fouled on a fast break and she made both free throws.
D. Diaz sank a 3-pointer from the wing to open the second quarter. She added three from the charity line before the half ended. Niblett scored twice from the blocks and chipped in a free throw.
Niblett and D. Diaz got assists after they passed to Y. Diaz working under the hoop. Sa. Sudduth made a free throw and sank a trey from the top of the key. The Lady Mules had opened a 31-23 lead by the intermission.
The Cubs came roaring back after the break and cut the Lady Mule lead to a single point by the time the third period ended. Niblett opened the third quarter with hoop from the paint and Y. Diaz put back an offensive rebound.
D. Diaz drove the left side for a hoop and chipped in a free throw. The Lady Mules led 38-37 with eight minutes left in regulation.
Sa. Sudduth made a free throw to open the final quarter. Sy. Sudduth chipped in a pair from the charity line and Rosas dropped in one freebie. D. Diaz took over the game and started with a pair of free throws.
She nailed a 3-pointer to give the Lady Mules a 45-42 lead with three minutes left in the game. D. Diaz drove from the left side and kissed the ball off the glass to tie the game at 49-49 and keep the Lady Mules alive.
The Lady Mules screwed down the defensive pressure in the overtime and held the Cubs to four points. D. Diaz answered with two hoops to force a second OT.
D. Diaz set the tone for the final overtime by making a pair of free throws. She went to the line three more times and made both charity tosses every time. Y. Diaz dropped in one charity toss and cleaned up the garbage with a put back.
D. Diaz went to the charity line nine times and made 16 free throws. She also made two treys and four hoops to lead the Lady Mules with 30 points. Niblett finished with 11 points and Y. Diaz made nine points.
Sa. Sudduth dropped in seven points and Sy. Sudduth added six points. Rosas chipped in one point.