No. 21-ranked Wall girls basketball team fends off upset bid in Ballinger

Paul Harris
San Angelo Standard-Times
Ballinger's Jenna Battle makes a move past Wall's Loren Pepper during their basketball game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Wall.

BALLINGER — The Ballinger High School girls basketball team gave No. 21-ranked Wall everything it could handle on Senior Night in Ballinger before Wall was able to earn a 47-39 win.

Ballinger was within four points with just over a minute to play but couldn't complete the upset.

Ballinger finished the regular season at 17-7 overall and in third place in District 6-3A with a 10-4 mark. The Lady Cats will open the playoffs against Coahoma at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Roscoe.

Wall improved to 22-3 overall and 13-1 in district, securing a first-place tie with No. 14 Jim Ned. Wall and Jim Ned will play at a site and time to be determined to decide who earns the district's No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Wall led Ballinger 12-11 after the first quarter, 24-19 at halftime and 36-30 after the third quarter.

The Lady Hawks led throughout but couldn't put Ballinger away until the final minute.

"(Ballinger) is a really scrappy team," Wall head coach Kevin Richardson said. "They're not highly offensive or anything, but they're just so scrappy defensively. And they've been that way both games (against us). Really outside of one quarter at our place, they played right with us the whole time, mostly because of their defensive effort and how hard they play.

"I've got to give it to them. They're good. They're real good. And they're going to make some noise in the playoffs for sure."

Wall had an 11-0 start to district play ended last week in a 52-36 loss to Jim Ned, so the Lady Hawks had to win Friday to keep from falling into second place.

Kylie Phillips had 14 points and Caroline Holtmann had 12 to lead Wall.

Ballinger was locked into third place regardless of the outcome, but the Lady Cats played like a title was on the line.

"The kids' effort they give pretty much every night, you couldn't ask for much more," Ballinger head coach Jerry McSherry said. "I felt like we gave as much effort as we could."

Addison Martin and Chelsea Martinez each had 10 points to pace Ballinger.

McSherry said he believes playing in a district with teams like Wall and Jim Ned will help prepare his team for the playoffs.

"There's not going to be many teams out there in the state that play as well as Wall and Jim Ned on any given night," McSherry said. "Yeah, Peaster's out there putting up a lot of points, but they're not playing the competition we're playing. Brock's down this year, but they're still a good defensive team. There are teams out there putting up big numbers, but I guarantee you they're not playing teams like Wall and Jim Ned defensively. You've got to work for every point you score. Very seldom is there a breakdown where you get an easy basket.

"So I feel like we're battle-tested. Merkel's a dang good team, too. They pushed Wall both times they played. We beat them both times in squeakers. So we know we can win close games, and we know we can play with just about anybody."

Wall 47, Ballinger 39

Wall    12    12    12    11 — 47

Ballinger    11    8    11    9 — 39

WALL — Hannah Burk 2, Shaylee Shiller 1, Falyn Guy 6, Loren Pepper 3, Kamryn Williams 7, Kylie Phillips 14, Caroline Holtmann 12, Kaitlyn Stephens 2. Totals 16 12-28 47.

BALLINGER — Addison Martin 10, Jewel Klaras 3, Emma Toliver 3, Cynthia Camarillo 1, Danielle Pena 4, Jenna Battle 8, Chelsea Martinez 10. Totals 13 11-18 39.

3-point goals — Wall 3 (Phillips 2, Guy 1); Ballinger 2 (Toliver 1, Battle 1). Records — Wall is 22-3 overall, 13-1 in district; Ballinger is 17-7, 10-4.