It’s been more than two decades since the Anna Lady Coyotes basketball program made it to the postseason in two consecutive campaigns but that drought has officially ended in 2014.
With their win over Bonham on Jan. 24, the Lady Coyotes clinched a playoff berth. For a dose of irony, the team could secure a third place finish if the Bonham Lady Warriors can take down Community in their upcoming rumble.
The fourth place finisher from District 12-3A will have to take on the winner of 11-3A but the third place finisher will face the 11-3A runner-up in the Bi-District round Feb. 10-11.
"After the Bonham game I reiterated to the girls that a playoff berth is uncommon and they should walk tall knowing they’ve accomplished something special," Anna head coach and girls athletic coordinator Grant Bergman said. "Two in a row is a sign of what I hope is a culture shift in Anna that started in football and will hopefully continue for all of our teams this year."
Anna went more than 20 years without a playoff berth until four seasons ago, coincidentally Dei Moreno’s freshman year. The Lady Coyotes have been in the postseason in three of her four years as a varsity player.
Anna will celebrate senior night Tuesday before its game against Melissa.
Anna 44, Bonham 28
The Lady Coyotes played host to Bonham on Friday night and was able to shut the Lady Warriors down in the middle quarters of the game to come away with the double-digit victory.
Anna was up 12-8 at the end of the first quarter but took over with defense, holding Bonham to just eight points combined in the second and third quarters. Moreno led the team with 10 points, while Richardson added nine for Anna.
"We hit some early shots from the perimeter, which infused us with the confidence to finally extend a lead against Bonham," Bergman said.
Anna scored 19 of its 44 points at the charity stripe and led 35-16 going into the final period.
Other Anna scorers included: Gilliland (8), Dilldine (7), Oonk (5), Hutto (3) and Ramos (2).
B 8 4 4 12 — 28
A 12 11 12 9 — 44
Princeton 61, Anna 24
Princeton came into the contest on Tuesday night looking to defend its home court and stay in contention for a shot at first place in the district, provided it can take down Melissa. Anna was hoping to steal a win and secure a third place finish in the district with a win.
The two teams were aggressive early but it was Princeton that was able to get the big 61-24 win as Anna played two-and-a-half quarters with their star player on the bench.
Princeton dropped back-to-back treys to start the game but Anna was able to keep it close with free throws from Dei Moreno and then a jumper in the lane from Mikaela Gililland that closed the gap to two points.
The Lady Panthers had back-to-back steals that they converted into field goals to close out the first on a 4-0 run and take a 13-7 point advantage after the opening quarter. They used that momentum to start the second quarter with a 7-2 run that opened up a double digit lead.
Midway through the second quarter a double-technical foul attributed to each team’s bench helped settle the play on the court, but it didn’t improve the outcome for Anna.
Freshman Avrey Oonk led the team with eight points. Tessa Hutto and Moreno each finished the game with four for the Lady Coyotes. Other Anna scorers included: Breeanna Dilldine (3), Mikaela Gilliland (2), Amber Ramos (2) and Jaci Richardson (1).
P 13 13 19 16 — 61
A 7 6 8 3 — 24