By Rick Atkinson
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
ANNA - Anna’s Lady Coyotes are headed back to the basketball playoffs after their come-from-behind 39-36 win over Celina Feb. 11 at Anna High School.
With their victory, the Lady Coyotes (5-5) claimed the fourth seed out of the District 11-4A and were set to face Dallas Lincoln Feb. 17 at R.L. Turner High School.
The Lady Bobcats (3-7) stormed to a 12-1 start and but by the end of the second quarter, Anna had cut the lead in half. The Lady Coyotes stilled trailed, 29-24, after three stanzas – but then it was Anna guard Marianna Bert’s time to shine. Bert knocked down 10 of her 11 points in the crucial final quarter as the Lady Coyotes rolled to a decisive 15-7 advantage.
All told, it was forward Bre Traylor who posted a team-high 12 points for Anna.
Caroline Morgan led the Lady Bobcats with 22 points, including six 3-pointers.
“I thought were going to go down in flames,” second-year Anna head coach Justin Baldia said of the first quarter. “We came out just really flat. I think, Senior Night, the excitement of a winner-take-all game, all that kind of builds up. … I was, like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go. We’ve got 24 minutes left. We just squandered eight minutes. One possession at a time.’ And we did that. We got on track.
“I told the girls how proud of them I was. One of the core values we talk about … is resilience. We put that on full display tonight.”
The Lady Coyotes were without guard Kaycee Redwine due to concussion protocol and guard Ckia Morrison with a foot injury. “Because we were short-handed,” Baldia said, “we were unable to press in the first quarter. We started pressing in the second - got some turnovers, closed the gap a little and made it a six-point game.”
Baldia noted Bert’s two big “and-1s” in the fourth quarter that gave Anna the lead. “Marianna put our team on her back in the fourth. She refused to let this be our last game. … And Kylie [Agerlid] stepped up - gave us some big minutes, hit a free throw, got some big rebounds.”
Traylor and forward Qua Fisher had to sit for over half the fourth quarter, saddled with foul trouble. Both returned, playing the rest of the way with four fouls. Baldia noted they “played smart” and never fouled out.
Appearing for a final time at Anna High School this night were seniors Traylor, Bert, Redwine, Lexi Stewart and Shataelyn King.
The Lady Coyotes’ last trip to the post-season, two years ago, ended in a tough 41-38 first-round loss to Quinlan Ford.
Celina 12 9 8 7 - 36
Anna 1 15 8 15 - 39
Anna scoring – Bre Traylor 12, Marianna Bert 11, Lexi Stewart 7, Qua Fisher 6, Kylie Agerlid 3.
FINAL GIRLS BASKETBALL STANDINGS
District 11-4A (as of Feb. 10)