When the clutch minutes of the second half came around, the Gatesville girls’ basketball team was ready.
The Hornets crashed the boards, made free throws and didn’t give the ball up easy as they went on the road to claim a 55-49 victory over Robinson on Friday night in the Rockettes’ gym.
Robinson and Gatesville each went undefeated through the first four games of District 18-4A action, setting up a showdown with each other.
The Hornets (19-9, 5-0) came out of it with the edge the rest of the way in district play.
“It’s always good to end the first half of district in first place,” Gatesville coach Ryan Ocheskey said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming in here with them being 4-0 and us being 4-0. It’s always nice to get one on the road.”
Although Robinson led by two points at halftime, Gatesville pushed ahead midway through the third quarter and never relinquished the lead.
Hornets guard Alayna Washington hit six free throws in a row that took Gatesville from a two-point deficit to a two-point advantage. Washington then dished to Allaiya Jones for an inside basket and a four-point lead with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
That capped Gatesville’s key 10-2 run that gave them control.
“They did a good job of getting downhill and creating contact,” Robinson coach Will McKethan said. “We didn’t do a good job at the point of contact of forcing them out. They have a lot of seniors and juniors that have done this before and I think they showed a lot of moxie down the stretch.”
Washington, a 5-foot-8 senior, took control inside in the second half. She finished with 14 points, including going 11 of 15 from the free-throw line, and grabbed 16 rebounds for an impressive double-double. Jones also had 14 points and forward Josie Boyd posted seven points and eight rebounds.
Forward Brooke Ashcraft and guard Brenna Welsh each had 15 points to lead Robinson (9-15, 4-1).
But Gatesville was able to mostly neutralize Rockettes 6-2 center Madison Crowson. She had to sit for a big chunk of the first half in foul trouble and finished with five points and eight rebounds.
The Hornets built on their third-quarter run when Marlee Ward hit a 3-pointer with 2:36 left in the period and Jones followed with another trey a couple of minutes later. That boosted Gatesville to a six point lead late in the third.
Robinson forward Kinley Schnizer answered with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to cut the Hornets’ lead to 35-32 entering the final period.
Jones scored on an assist from T’ana Nolte to cap a 5-2 mini-run early in the fourth quarter that proved crucial. It extended the Hornets’ lead back to six points and Robinson never climbed back within one possession.
The hard fought district contest then digressed into a free-throw contest in the final minute as the two squads combined to shoot 21 shots from the charity stripe in 60 seconds.