A long offseason and highly successful regular season for the Hitchcock Lady Bulldogs has all been leading to tonight, as they look to take another shot at a regional championship and trip to state at the Region III-3A tournament at Waco Midway High School.

“We’re ready to play our hearts out,” senior post Majesty Otems said. “We can’t lose.”

Last year, this was where the Lady Bulldogs’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion when two free throws with 4 seconds left saw Buffalo advance with a 57-55 win.

The eight seniors on this year’s Hitchcock team haven’t forgotten that moment, and enter tonight’s regional semifinal against Marlin determined to not repeat history.

“We already know what it’s like to lose, and we don’t want to lose again,” senior guard Taivionna Daniels said.

With Otems playing the post with a unique combination of size and speed, also leading the way for Hitchcock will be the athletic guard play from the likes of seniors Irish Winn, Daniels and Taylor Kendrick.

“I feel like going there another time, we’re not going to have as much pressure as we did last time,” Kendrick said. “So, there’s not going to be as much anxiety going on. I feel like we’re going to be able to play better on both the offensive and defensive end.”

When it comes to the matchup against the Marlin Lady Bulldogs (29-8 overall, 14-0 in District 19-3A), the name of the game for Hitchcock (27-6, 10-0 in District 24-3A) will be to slow down 5-foot-7 star junior guard Mystique Womack, an Alabama commit who averages 26.1 points per game.

If any team is up to that task, it’s the Lady Bulldogs, whose high-pressure defense has given teams fits all season long. Hitchcock head coach Andrew Hubbell said Marlin plays at a similar up-tempo pace as Hitchcock, and while the other Lady Bulldogs team will have a size advantage, Hubbell said he likes his more experienced team’s chances if they play their game.

“In the regionals, the cupcakes are gone; there’s nobody that can’t play, but I think everyone in this group can agree that we like our odds pretty well,” Hubbell said. “They play the kind of game that we really want to play. It’s going to be a shootout.”

First tip for the Hitchcock-Marlin regional semifinal game is set for 6 p.m. today at Midway High School, 8200 Mars Dr., Waco.

Should Hitchcock advance to the regional championship, it will face the winner of a matchup between Grandview (28-8, 14-0 in District 17-3A) and Woodville (34-6, 12-0 in District 22-3A) at 1 p.m. back at Midway.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, james.lacombe@galvnews.com or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews


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