Second Fourth-Quarter Comeback in Two Days Powers No. 5 Krum to 3A Region II Title Win Over No. 15 Pittsburg
COMMERCE -- Same song, second verse.
For the second time in as many days, No. 5 Krum came back from an 11-point deficit after halftime. This time, the Lady Cats outscored 15th-ranked Pittsburg 20-1 in the fourth quarter to claim a 41-28 victory in the Class 3A Region II championship at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Krum (29-6), which erased an 11-point third-quarter deficit in Friday's regional semifinals against Liberty-Eylau, advances to the UIL state tournament at the Erwin Center in Austin. The 3A state semifinals are 1:30 and 3 p.m. Thursday. Pittsburg, which played in its third regional tournament in four years under veteran coach Debra Manley, finished the season 32-6.
Krum outscored Pittsburg 32-8 in the second half.
Pittsburg came out on fire, hitting 8 of 11 first-quarter shots and scoring 18 points in less than seven minutes to take an 18-7 lead to the second quarter.
But the Lady Pirates' offense went stagnant and Krum increased ball pressure on the perimeter, resulting in Pittsburg's 10-point output in the game's final 25-plus minutes.
"We just start questioning ourselves about what we needed to do offensively (after that fast start)," said Manley, who eclipsed the 600-win plateau earlier this season. "I said, 'You've gotta stick with what got us here.' Then they start pressing at halfcourt, just like Celina did (in Friday's semifinal). I knew it was coming. But we just stopped doing anything offensively. I know five times in a row we threw the ball out the door just for no reason. But I couldn't ask for anything more. They played hard."
Pittsburg led 20-9 at halftime and 27-21 entering the third quarter, but couldn't hold off Krum, which outscored Liberty-Eylau 23-14 in the fourth quarter of Friday's regional semifinal to reach Saturday's championship. Diamond Martinez' putback with 4:49 remaining tied the game 27-27. After Pittsburg senior post Meagan Peters split free throws for the Lady Pirates' lone fourth-quarter point, Krum's Rachel Wallace scored on a layup for a 29-28 lead with 3:17 to play.
Krum made 10 of 12 free-throw attempts in the final 2:26 to seal the win. Julia Schmaltz was 6-for-6 in that span, while Martinez was 5-for-6. Schmaltz scored a game-high 14 points and had eight rebounds and three assists, while Wallace added 12 points. Martinez had nine points off the Krum bench.
Pittsburg shot 48 percent from the field to Krum's 30.6 percent, but committed 24 turnovers to Krum's 11. Senior forward Cheyenne Ramey, who scored Pittsburg's first seven points, led the Lady Pirates with nine points and six rebounds. Peters had six points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 55.5 seconds left.
Pittsburg graduates a seven-player senior class, including four starters in Peters, Ramey, guard Kasey Avinger, and forward Shakira Duffey, the core of a group that made the Lady Pirates a regional threat the past four seasons.
"They're just special kids," Manley said. "We don't have any superstars. They all just play good together. It's just been fun. You don't have any problems or drama. Nobody worries about their points or assists. They don't even look and we don't look. It's been good. I can't complain."
Class 3A Region II
No. 5 Krum 41, No. 15 Pittsburg 28
Krum -- 7 2 12 20 -- 41
Pittsburg -- 18 2 7 1 -- 28
Krum (29-6) -- Julia Schmaltz 14, Rachel Wallace 12, Diamond Martinez 9, Caitlyn Arnold 3, Callie Craddock 2, Kylee Myers 1.
Pittsburg (32-6) -- Cheyenne Ramey 9, Meagan Peters 6, Shakira Duffey 5, DeNasia Watson 4, Kasey Avinger 4.