Lady Hornets fall in playoff action

A prosperous 2001 basketball season came to a halt on Saturday when the Lady Hornets from Rochelle failed to advance past the final round of the sectional tournament with a second-round loss to Borden County. Prior to the Saturday loss, the Hornets pulled out a close win against the Knippa Rockcrushers, 56-51, in a Friday night dual for the semi-final round of the tournament playoffs. “We played extremely well against a capable opponent,” said Rochelle coach Mike Gardner. “We had a 16-point lead in the third quarter when the officials suddenly decided to change their game plan. A college coach who was observing the game made the comment that, ‘It was a great game until the officials turned against Rochelle.'” With the win over Knippa, the Lady Hornets advanced to the final game of the sectional tournament held on Saturday morning but suffered a 67-47 loss in the playoff final. “We played Borden County, a very talented team with good athletes, including a tall, strong post player that we couldn’t handle,” said Gardner. “Even so, we were within nine points at halftime, in spite of the fact that we had to play ‘with one hand tied behind our back.’ “Anyone who was there, including fans from the opposing team, understands what I mean. Gina Baker was taken out of the game early on several non-foul calls. When you get this far in the playoffs, you should be able to expect good officiating, but that certainly wasn’t the case. “It was heart-wrenching as a coach to sit there and watch one of the best basketball players in this part of the state being singled out and eliminated unfairly, for no reason, in the final game of her high school career. It certainly takes the fun out of coaching. “Even if Gina had been allowed to play the entire game, we probably couldn’t have won this game, but it would have been fun trying. All the girls on the team played with admirable courage and determination, and they never gave up until the final buzzer sounded. Tanda Cook deserves special recognition for her outstanding effort. She gave her usual 150 percent every minute of the game. “In the final analysis, though, we had a great year. We were 22-6, won three tournaments and went to the sectional finals. I’m very proud of my girls. This was a year we’ll remember,” added Gardner.

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