Sometimes rivalry games do not live up to the tradition. One side drags down the other like it used to happen in the backyard after choosing up sides. That was not the case in Llano, January 15, when Burnet bulled its way past an equally resolute Llano Lady Jacket five, 50-39.
“I told the girls we would look them in the eye and go toe to toe,” said Llano head coach Daryl Friedrich. “We hung in there as long as we could.”
The subplot to this 32-minute struggle was the one-on-one duel between two of the best in Central Texas: sophomore Riley Scott of the Dawgs and LHS senior Cierra Jordan. When CJ got the ball, it appeared she wanted to drive past or through Riley. The other eight girls seemed almost invisible, spectators beneath the apron of the ring.
What did that confrontation amount to? 26 points for the Great Scott and a hard-earned 20 for Jordan, truly one of the finest athletes ever to wear Black and Orange.
Burnet was in control of the team match from the beginning, up 29-21 with five minutes to go in the third quarter, and Llano then made its move. Claire Williams scored, and Linsey Osbourn found Cierra for a hoop. Now this:
“…Hasty outside to Jordan..three-point shot! Gooood!!! CJ with 3! Llano down by one!”
“It was a real battle,” declared Bulldogs’ head coach, Mike Cavender. “The Llano kids kept us off balance much of the game. They were competing their tails off.”
So was his squad. Sarah Poe ended the Jackets’ 7-0 run with two free throws, and Scott won a race with the third period buzzer to make it 33-28. Each quarter thus far had ended with the Dawgs up by five.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” insisted Friedrich. “Down the stretch a few things hurt us. We’re trying to learn to become a complete team.”
The action in the latter minutes of the third did not exactly resemble a golf tournament with country club manners exhibited on the 72nd green. It may not have been “dog eat dog,” but Jacket eat Dawg—or vice versa. Conversations between refs and coaches were noticeable.
Maybe because of the rough and tumble action at times, Burnet was a big winner at the free-throw line: an excellent 23-for-29 against 9-for-19. “It’s feast or famine with us,” said Cavender, whose school, I guess, could save on the postgame meal.
A basket by Cierra Caffey narrowed the visitors’ lead to three early in the fourth, but Llano got no closer.
Scott corralled a rebound and put in two for a 43-34 advantage with 1:23 on the clock. Jordan tossed in two foul shots and a bucket to make it an “impossible dream-like” five-point differential. Burnet woke up to put on a 7-1 show, as the curtain drifted to the floor.
“We hope to keep learning and get better,” advised Cavender. Can’t get any better in district: 5-0 through the first half of the campaign.
And, final thoughts on what else we saw…
“CJ and Scott went back and forth,” Friedrich related. “Sometimes I wish I had been in the stands watching that battle. It was blow for blow. They were going at it the way two stars should go.”