For the Tivy seniors, there wasn’t anything too unusual about Friday. It was similar to any other game day — Audrey Robertson, Presleigh Way and Liz Twiss left the Robertson’s house around 4:30 p.m., blasting music on their drive to Antler Gym.
But when they arrived at the locker room, the realization began to sink in: After four years of slogging through difficult practices, four years of celebrating big wins, they were about to play their final game at Antler Gym. It was in this moment that Way realized she didn’t have a choice; she had to play great against rival Boerne Champion.
“I have played here for four years,” Way said. “I was determined: This is going to be a good game. It’s against Boerne. Heck! we got to win. I was excited.”
That determination paid dividends on Friday, with Way scoring a game-high 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting and swiping 7 steals. Her teammates played with that same level of intensity, as the Lady Antlers forced 26 steals to trounce the Lady Chargers, 49-21, on Friday.
Robertson finished with 11 points. Sophomore Ashlee Zirkel terrorized Boerne Champion (24-8, 10-5) defensively, registering 8 steals and 8 rebounds. Senior Julia Becker added 6 points, 3 steals and 4 assists.
“Execution was spot on tonight on both ends,” Tivy coach Christy Dill said. “Tivy and Boerne always get up for each other. The girls really got up for this game tonight.”
The Lady Antlers (27-5, 13-2 District 26-5A) were also still fuming over Tuesday’s 63-39 loss to No. 8 Veterans Memorial. They aren’t accustomed to suffering lopsided defeats, nor are they used to allowing so many points. Instead of sulking over the loss, they entered Wednesday’s practice with a renewed focus. They watched film, identifying areas of improvement. They emphasized defensive rotation in practice.
“That (loss) sparked us,” Way said. “It was just tough for us. We were definitely determined to show up this next game.”
And it was obvious. Early in the first, Way stole a pass and scored a layup. On the next possession, she buried a 3-pointer at the top of the key to cap a 15-0 run that gave the Lady Antlers a 16-3 lead. After that, the game’s outcome was never in doubt. Way and Zirkel continued to frustrate Champion’s guards with their traps. Robertson and Becker prevented entry passes to Champion’s posts.
The Lady Chargers scored 14 points in the first half and could only muster seven in the second. They only made seven field goals.
“We just studied (Champion),” Way said. “All of us watched what we did wrong last time and we worked on those specific things during practice to make sure that we didn’t make the same mistakes. I think it made a huge difference.”
The final outcome: The Lady Antlers had one last opportunity to celebrate a opportunity to celebrate a home win. Way spent several minutes posing for photos with family members after the victory. She and her senior comrades were some of the last people to leave Antler Gym.
They are hoping to have more opportunities to celebrate during the playoffs. (They play their regular-season finale at Harlandale on Tuesday)
“This group of seniors is another great group to be graduating,” Dill said. “It’s going to be sad to see them go. … Hopefully thisseason continues for weeks to come.”