By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
It’s what Hubbard ran out of Tuesday night.
It’s the one thing Hubbard needs and it’s the one thing -- at least for now -- Hubbard doesn’t have.
It’s probably the biggest reason the Lady Jaguars lost to La Poyner 50-39 Tuesday night in the Class 1A DI Bi-district round of the playoff at Corsicana high’s gym, where the ice was forming outside and showing up at times inside.
“The lack of stability in the program is a big deal,’’ said Hubbard coach Kendall Cotten, who took over the program this year. “They’ve had four head coaches and four assistant coaches in four years. This program needs stability.’’
And that takes time.
Cotten did a remarkable job and brought his kids to the playoffs, but their first dance in postseason was anything but smooth and silky. It was more like a jitterbug for a team that clearly had some early jitters.
The Lady Jags jumped out to a 4-0 lead and were still up 7-6 in the first quarter when La Poyner settled in to take over the game. The Flyers ripped off a 13-0 run and led 19-6 before Hubbard regrouped and closed to 20-14 at halftime.
But it was there - La Poyner’s experience and discipline -- and the Flyers all but put the game away in the third quarter when they outscored Hubbard 18-3. The lead stretched to 23 points when Kelsey Bristow hit a pair of free throws to open the fourth quarter that gave La Poyner a 40-17 lead.
“They are just fundamentally better than us,” Cotten said. “A lot better.’’
But the Hubbard kids showed grit and never quit, fighting back in the fourth. After being out-rebounded 2-to-1 Hubbard crashed the boards and won the battle at the glass over the final eight minutes. They just kept coming and put together a 17-4 run to close to 43-34 with 1:40 left, and they were down 45-36 when Tia Parks made a steal and a coast-to-coast drive that would have closed the gap to seven points (45-38) with 1:20 left but after she made the basket she was charged with traveling.
Tia Parks led Hubbard with 14 points and Nakaila Banks dropped in 11. Tysheunna Hawthorne added five and Jasmine Parks and Kate Saucke scored four each. Bristow led the Flyers with 18 points.
Tia Parks scored half her points in the fourth and Banks scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth, but Hubbard just couldn’t get close enough in the end.
Hubbard, which did not allow a point from the floor in the fourth until Melody Avalos hit a layup in the final seconds, simply ran out of time.
Cotten left knowing what his kids had lost and what they had gained, and was getting pumped up about next season when he left the gym.
“Unfortunately, you’ve got to have downs to go along with the good. We’re learning. We’re getting ready for summer basketball,’’ he said. “I brought a new attitude when I came here and I‘m not going any where. This program needs stability.
“We‘re mainly sophomores,’’ he said. “We‘re going to be back, and we are going to remember this. I told them to remember what this feels like, what it feels like to lose in the playoff. We’re going to be back and we will remember everything.”