32 minutes from championship glory

Girls' basketball wins 5A state semifinal, advancing to Saturday's championship game

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  • Taking the court at the Alamodome on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 in the 5A state semifinal, starters: Randi Thompson, Mara Casey, Kelsey Kurak, MacKenzie Glover, and Kailyn Lay get ready to take on the Kerrville Tivy Antlers. The Redhawks would go on to win 34-28, advancing to Saturday's championship.

  • Holding her right hand aloft, senior Randi Thompson watches the ball after shooting a free throw in the first half of the UIL 5A state semifinal against Kerrville Tivy. Thompson scored a game high 16 points in the Redhawks 34-28 win on Thursday, Feb. 28 in San Antonio.

  • The Redhawks bench looks on during Thursday's state semifinal game against Kerrville Tivy in the Alamodome. Tied at 27 with six minutes left, the Redhawks would only give up one more point and win 34-28.

  • Guarded by Tivy's Julia Becker (#10), senior Randi Thompson looks to make a move in the 5A state semifinal game at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Thompson would finish with a game high 16 points and six steals in the Redhawks 34-28 win.

  • Trying to get the ball into center Catherine Kaiser (#32), Tivy guard Charli Becker (#11) is guarded by Redhawks senior Randi Thompson. The Redhawks offense sputtered at times, going more than 12 minutes without scoring, but their defense never allowed the Antlers to take a lead.

  • During a break in the action, the team huddles up on the sideline in the 5A state semifinal against Kerrville Tivy in the Alamodome. The Redhawks scored a 34-28 win to advance to Saturday's state final.

  • Redhawks fans celebrate as the final seconds tick off the clock in the team's 34-28 state semifinal win over Kerrville Tivy in the Alamodome on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. The team is back in action Saturday against Amarillo in the 5A championship game.

  • As senior Brittany O'Reilly-Ward (#15) looks on, assistant coach Kristin Lynch hugs senior Kelsey Kurak after the Redhawks secured a place in Saturday's 5A state championship game against Amarillo. The Redhawks got there after beating Kerrville Tivy 34-28 on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

  • Campus athletic director Chris Burtch walks away from the team after the Redhawks 34-28 win the UIL 5A state semifinal against Kerrville Tivy. The team went more than 12 minutes without scoring but never gave up the lead.

As the clock struck :00 on the UIL 5A semifinal game against the Kerrville Tivy Antlers on Friday at the Alamodome, and the scoreboard showing the Redhawks taking the 34-28 win, the celebration was somewhat subdued as the team knows their ultimate goal still sits 32 minutes away in the championship game Saturday.

“We are obviously elated to be in this situation,” head basketball coach Ross Reedy said. “The other team made it hard for us being really happy throughout because they put us in a really stressful situation.”

It didn’t start off that way, as wasting no time, senior Randi Thompson, hit a three-pointer in the first 30 seconds of the game, followed by another one from senior Mara Casey as the Redhawks jumped out to a quick lead.

“We’re definitely super excited,” senior Randi Thompson said. “We kinda had a feeling we were going win the game but just the fact that we actually won is very exciting.”

Especially since the Antlers eventually pulled themselves out of the early hole and tied score the at 27 with 6:00 left in the fourth quarter.

Struggling to score, the Redhawks went more than 12 minutes without a field goal until senior Kailyn Lay drove the lane and hit a layup while getting fouled. Making the free throw, the Redhawks led 30-27.

“It felt really good,” Lay said. “I know throughout the game it was like a close game so we were just thinking like ‘we have to finish the game and come out with a win.”

Giving up only one point the rest of the way, the Redhawks secured their second championship appearance in the last four years where they face a familiar foe: the Amarillo Sandies.

“We’ve seen Amarillo before,” Reedy said. “They beat us in overtime and so we’re really excited to be able to play them in the final and get the opportunity to get state championship for Liberty.”