KINGSVILLE — From the start, the Brownsville Veterans Memorial Lady Chargers looked outmatched by the Corpus Christi Flour Bluff Lady Hornets.
Once the Lady Hornets took an early lead with a barrage of easy layups and long-range buckets after one quarter, it was all uphill for the Lady Chargers, who eventually lost 70-42 in the Class 5A area round Friday night on the campus of Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The Lady Hornets (28-5) move on to the regional quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of Victoria West and Donna High.
While Brownsville Veterans’ offense couldn’t get in a rhythm due to turnovers and missed shots, its defense had no answers early for the Lady Hornets’ size or senior guard Hayle Campbell, who led a 14-2 run during the first four minutes of the game.
The Lady Chargers (21-16) managed just two field goals in the first quarter and trailed 24-8 after one.
“I think we were overwhelmed by the moment,” Lady Chargers coach Valentin Paz said. “We lost the first quarter and that was the big difference in the game, and we were playing from behind. (Flour Bluff) shoots the ball lights out. We made mental mistakes. There are mistakes we made because of the flow of the game and there are mental mistakes, and I think we made mental mistakes.”
Campbell finished with a game-high 20 points, and teammate Jayde Tschritter followed with 15.
The Lady Hornets shot the ball well throughout and finished the game with eight 3-point shots, dropping in 24 points during the first quarter and another 26 in the third.
“I was pleased that we scored early in the quarter,” Flour Bluff coach James McMinn said. “We were lucky that some shots went in, got some turnovers and some layups for a good little lead there. I think we have seven or eight girls who can shoot the ball from outside. We got some good looks and when we can make three or four passes, those shots seem to get better.”
After a Campbell layup made it 26-8 in the early second, Lady Chargers showed some life.
Junior Destiny Contreras hit back-to-back shots, sinking a long 2 and trey to spark an 8-1 run and make it an 11-point game.
“We started getting momentum,” she said. “I scored and everyone started getting energy and began driving to the basket, finding the holes (in the defense), drive, go in and get on the line so time can stop, and make baskets.”
The Lady Chargers continued to attack the paint and managed to win the second quarter 15-10. They went into the break down 34-23 with freshmen Caitlin Esquivel leading the charge, scoring seven points in the quarter.
“We kept thinking the score was 0-0, and we just kept on going until the end,” the freshman said. “We wanted to strive for the win and believe we had a chance and not have the mentality of a loser. We played as a team, but we came up short.”
Esquivel led the Lady Chargers with 16 points and went 8 for 10 from the line, and Contreras followed with 15 points.
During the third quarter, Brownsville Veterans felt the turnover bug and Flour Bluff got out in the fast break for easy layups off steals to push its lead to 45-26 to open the second half.
A pair of Esquivel freebies and an Alexandra Parchmont 3 stopped the bleeding for the Lady Chargers for a moment to make it 45-31, but the Lady Hornets’ Campbell and Tschritter led a 10-0 run to end the third and completely put the game out of reach.