AP NEWS

Poth falls to Woodville in 3A semifinals

March 1, 2019

Poth’s senior guard Chelsea Kruse couldn’t contain herself any longer.

She burst into tears as she embraced coach Amanda Hemby with 25.7 seconds left in her high school basketball career. The result didn’t work out the way she wanted as the Pirettes fell, 68-48, in a Class 3A state semifinal at the Alamodome.

“It was the realization that the season was over,” said Kruse, the Pirettes’ only senior starter. “I know that we worked so hard to get here, and it was just a bummer not seeing it through to the end.”

Hemby coached Kruse’s older sisters Alyssa and Jennifer at Poth. Chelsea was the last of the line. That embrace marked a farewell, of sorts.

“After 11 years of having Kruses, I’m all out of Kruses,” Hemby said. “I got to coach her two sisters, and all three are amazing kids. I won’t get to have her anymore. Our season’s over.”

Kruse was the Pirettes’ only four-year starter. Poth was making its first state appearance in six seasons. Playing her final game at the state tournament was always her goal. She appreciates the friendships she created on her long journey to state.

“The chemistry we built and the teammates I made and the sisterhood we had,” Kruse said. “It was really memorable playing with these girls. … I’m really going to miss them when I’m gone. I know they are going to be so strong and they are going to do so well next year.”

Woodville knocked Poth out of sorts early with a dominating press that created a lot of turnovers and easy scoring opportunities.

“We knew it was coming,” Hemby said. “It’s not like we didn’t expect it. Some jitters got to us, and us second-guessing ourselves, possibly. … I felt like we didn’t do what we needed to do.”

Leading 10-4 in the first three minutes, Woodville reeled off a 22-5 run over the next nine minutes to lead 32-9. The Eagles forced 16 turnovers and almost held the Pirettes scoreless in the second quarter. Woodville’s 17-2 second-quarter spurt led to a 37-11 halftime advantage.

“We just didn’t play (like) us,” said junior point guard Kyrah Luna, who led Poth with 15 points. “There’s not much to say. We just didn’t do our best.”

Poth (29-6) had some good looks in the second quarter, but made just 1 of 14 shots.

“It’s one of those things about shooting the ball,” Hemby said. “Sometimes, they fall and sometimes, they don’t. I definitely told them to keep shooting, making sure we had that confidence, and I know what we did. We just didn’t get on that roll.”

The Pirettes settled into the game in the second half, outscoring Woodville 37-28.

“We didn’t give up,” Hemby said. “We could have. I could have subbed and taken them all out. I knew that’s not what they wanted. We were trying to chisel away one point at a time.”

Cooper had 12 points and teammates Morgan Pape added 10. Kruse finished with seven points and seven rebounds.

Woodville (39-1) was led by Jordyn Beaty’s 17 points and 20 rebounds.

Poth made its 14th state tournament appearance, the most of any area school. With four starters expected to return at least nine others, the Pirettes are set for another state run.

“Having the experience we had this year, and having good leaders like Chelsea is going to benefit us a lot so we can get back here next year.”

dhinojosa@express-news.net

Twitter: @hinojosa_david