EASTLAND — Sluggish starts finally caught up to Bishop Gorman.
For the third straight game the Lady Crusaders were slow out of the gate, only this time they were unable to catch up.
No. 2 Lubbock Trinity Christian raced to an early 10-point lead and held off top-ranked Gorman’s second-half runs to secure a 70-63 victory in the TAPPS 4A regional basketball playoffs at Eastland High School on Tuesday, cutting short a season of high hopes for the Lady Crusaders.
“The girls were just heartbroken,” Gorman coach Katie Robertson said. “I am proud of my girls. They never gave up — they never do.
“(Trinity Christian) couldn’t miss and they just got some loose balls and things that just went their way instead of our way.”
For the final time, Gorman was led by the scoring of Michelle Obach, who had 33 points despite being the focal point of the Trinity Christian defense. Obach, who will play for Merrimack College next year, finished her distinguished career with 2,549 points.
“It was clear that she was the leader of our team,” Robertson said. “She played with a sense of urgency. Lubbock Trinity was focused on her. They did their best to stop her.”
The Lady Lions (26-10) advance to play either Midland Christian or Fort Worth Christian in the state semifinals on Friday. Shanae Ammons paced Trinity Christian with 25 points on five 3-pointers while Ashtyn Thorne added 21 on four 3-pointers.
The Lady Lions jumped to a 12-2 lead and stayed hot all night, hitting 10 3-pointers.
The Lady Crusaders (30-4) kept coming back and made nine 3-pointers themselves, but Trinity Christian had an answer to ever Gorman run.
“It was one of those things where we’d hit a 3 and they’d answer with a 3,” Robertson said. “We tried everything we could with different defenses and ran some different offenses; it just wasn’t falling for us.
“It was very surreal.”
The Lady Crusaders received 10 points off three 3-pointers from Brooke Lee while Danielle Smith (two 3-pointers) and Susannah Williams each chipped in eight points.
Gorman graduates six seniors that played for Robertson since eighth grade, including starters Obach, Smith, Williams and Allie Buzbee (two points).
“I just had to remind the girls to not let that (loss) define their season or even less the five years I’ve had those seniors,” Robertson said. “We’ve had so many big moments to be proud of.”
Gorman, ranked atop TAPPS 4A for much of the year, established itself as the best team in Tyler, having beaten Rose City rivals Robert E. Lee, John Tyler, Grace Community and All Saints all by at least 17 points. The Lady Crusaders also were among the best in East Texas, winning the Great East Texas Shootout and defeating the likes of Class 1A state semifinalist Martins Mill and Fairfield, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A at the time.
However, Gorman was shooting for a state championship.
“I don’t know if I was more upset when I was a senior and we lost in the regional game before state or tonight seeing those seniors lose and how upset they are,” said Robertson, a former standout at Brownsboro. “It’s really hard for me because I’m so close to them.
“I know how hard they worked. I’m so proud of what they’ve done on the court and just the Christian women they’ve developed into.”
TAPPS 4A Regional Playoff
At Eastland HS
No. 2 Lubbock Trinity Christian 70, No. 1 Bishop Gorman 63
Trinity Christian 17 17 20 16 — 70
Gorman 9 15 20 19 — 63
TRINITY CHRISTIAN — Ashtyn Thorne, 21; Lindsay Shadden, 2; Shanae Ammons, 25; Erin Hagood, 2; Emma Hardin, 12; Breklyn Wentz, 6; Christen Turner, 2.
GORMAN — Brooke Lee, 10; Allie Buzbee, 2; Michelle Obach, 33; Mandie VanderVorste, 2; Susannah Williams, 8; Danielle Smith, 8.
THREE POINT GOALS — TC: Thorne (4), Ammons (5), Hardin. BG: Lee (3), Obach (4), Smith (2).
RECORDS — Trinity Christian 26-10; Gorman 30-4.
NEXT UP — Trinity Christian vs. Midland Christian-Fort Worth Christian winner, 4:30 p.m. Friday, Mansfield Legacy High School.