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Dale Whitaker summed it up pretty well with, "Oh man!"
The Sharyland Lady Rattlers took home their first Bi-district win in 5A last night when they beat Laredo Nixon, 48-43.
"The kids just played their hearts out," said a proud Whitaker. "They never gave up."
Yes, it wasn't easy for the Rattlers. Enduring a slow first half, than taking a solid seven point lead only to see it dwindle behind a furious comeback spurred by a raucous Nixon crowd before concluding the game with key stops and free throws, made ·the historic win that much more winnable.·
What won't be forgotten is the play off Chelsea Cole, who finished with 21 points.·
"Chelsea played a fabulous game," said Whitaker after noting the senior's speed helped wear down the Mustangs.·
Ms. Cole found multiple ways to score but none were prettier than her elevating jump shot that seemed to come at key moments. In fact, it was Cole's first shot of the second half that spurred the team to take control of the game.
Of course the wonder woman does not work alone. Helping out was Clarissa Suarez who had two big threes in the third quarter. The last one came with just over 15 seconds remaining, hitting nothing but net and giving the team a 31-24 lead entering the fourth.
On the ropes, the Mustangs would make numerous challenges to the Rattler lead. After Laura Eberly extended Shary's lead to 36-29, Nixon would ever so slyly work their way back. By the time the two minute mark came, the Mustangs trailed only 42-41.
Then Suarez stepped it up again.
The junior guard who plays excellent on both sides of the ball due to her strong foot work, used her foot and ball handling skills to get some crucial points.
Driving from the right side, Suarez found herself headed to the hoop with defenders trailing closely. Instead of forcing a low percentage shot, the guard dribbled under the hoop along the left side baseline all the way to the three point line. Spinning around, the guard launched up a three. The shot was short but the refs determined Suarez was fouled putting the excellent free throw shooter at the line. Hitting two-of-three, the lead was extended to 44-41.·
Of course Nixon wasn't done. Vanessa Vicharelli scored down low to cut the lead to again within one with just over a minute to play. However, Suarez would be fouled again on the subsequent possession, making one to put the lead back up to two.
With one last chance to tie the game or even take the lead, Nixon threw up a bad shot. Rebounding the ball was Cole who immediately raced down the court and found a wide open Laure Eberly streaking for an easy layup, silencing the foe's crowd and lifting her own as the basket sealed the win.
"It's amazing," said Cole of the win. "We needed to finish and we all stepped up at the end."
The Lady Rattlers now move onto Area to play Valley powerhouse Harlingen South. Place and time has yet to be determined.
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