If the Kilgore High School girls basketball team winds up winning the District 15-4A championship this year – and there’s a good chance they might – then they may very well point to Tuesday night’s home turnaround against Chapel Hill as the key moment of the season.
The Lady Bulldogs had an awful start, unable to hit but just one basket in the first quarter and down 19-8 at the half, only to stage a furious rally, take their first lead of the game with 10 seconds left, and held on for a 28-26 win.
As a result, Kilgore has just one district loss, still (to Bullard), a team they were to host on Friday night, following the print deadline for this issue of the News Herald. Kilgore’s boys lost to Chapel Hill, 65-46, on Tuesday night at home, and also were to host Bullard on Friday.
Both Kilgore teams visit Gilmer Tuesday night – that’s the end of the regular season for the girls, who have already qualified for the 4A playoffs. The boys’ regular season will continue after that, a home game against Spring Hill next Friday.
Kilgore 28, Chapel Hill 26 (girls): The turnaround was amazing: Kilgore’s defense just allowed coach Jeff Coleman’s Lady Bulldogs to climb back in it. Two baskets by Tianna Holland at the end of the third quarter got Kilgore within four, 21-17.
Chapel Hill just couldn’t pull away again, in spite of the best efforts by Karlea Duhon, who finished with 13 points.
Kilgore cut it to 25-23, then 26-24, on free throws by Jamaria Thomas, and then Thomas tied the game with a basket with 21 seconds left.
Thomas drew a foul with 10.75 seconds left, and sank both free throws to give Kilgore its first lead of the game, 28-26.
Duhon shot a technical free throw and missed, and then Chapel Hill had one more chance, but in the scrum for the ball underneath the basket, couldn’t get off a shot.
Thomas finished with 15 points for Kilgore.
Chapel Hill 65, Kilgore 46 (boys): Kilgore beat Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill in the first district game that came down to the wire, but the visitors weren’t letting Kilgore get the sweep.
Kilgore played CHHS tight early, trailing just 10-6 midway through the first period. Elijah Williams drew an offensive foul on Chapel Hill with three minutes left, but Kilgore didn’t really capitalize on it – Jeremiah Hoskins did hit a three-pointer for KHS with 56 seconds left, but Kilgore trailed, 19-12, after one.
Kilgore gave themselves a puncher’s chance in the second quarter. Chapel Hill was up seven after a basket by Teon Erwin with a minute left, but Sam Kosel hit a pair of free throws to cut it to five, and then Kosel, off a pass from Hoskins, got off a buzzer-beating three-pointer and sank it. Chapel Hill led by just two, 31-29, at the half.
That was Kilgore’s peak, unfortunately. Chapel Hill came out hot in the third, and outscored Kilgore, 10-2 in the first four minutes of the second half. Deiontrae Wheat knocked down a three for KHS, but by that time, the damage was done – well, that, and Erwin lived in the paint, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds and a pair of steals.
For Kilgore, who dropped to 3-3 in district play with the loss, Seth Thomas had 12 , Wheat had 11, and Hoskins finished with nine.