SANGER — With 5:13 left in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night, Sanger’s Bella Ringenberg came off a screen and laid the ball up and in to give the Lady Indians a one-point lead.
The play punctuated a 13-2 run which Sanger used to erase a nine-point deficit. But just as quickly as the Lady Indians gained momentum, Aubrey stole it right back.
The Lady Chaparrals promptly went on a 6-0 run of their own, and behind a suffocating defense, rallied to knock off Sanger 37-32 at Sanger High School.
“It’s a huge win for us, especially getting the first district win on the road,” Aubrey coach Ron Gathright said. “Our defense has been big for us all year long. We’ve been a really strong defensive team all year long. It’s just the offense hasn’t been as good.
“But over the last couple of games, our offense has started to take shape. I feel like if our offense continues to evolve, we’re going to be hard to beat.”
Kathimae Dow led Aubrey with 13 points, including nine in the second half. Rhianna Stevenson chipped in nine and Gabi Grisso had seven.
The Lady Chaparrals held Sanger to just five points in the final frame, as the Lady Indians struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive end. Sanger scored less than 10 points in each quarter except the third.
“[Scoring] hasn’t particularly been an issue [this season], just as of late,” Sanger coach Derek Hilliard said. “We get shots. Eighty percent of our shots come in the paint within six to eight feet of the basket. We’re just not converting and making shots. I really can’t tell you why.
“I don’t know if it’s becoming a mental block. But at one point this year we were averaging nearly 50 points per game, and here we are back-to-back [games] scoring 32 and 30 points. I don’t know the answer. I wish I did.”
Lexi Martin poured in 11 points to lead Sanger, burying three 3-pointers. Chloe Martin added eight points and Ringenberg had six.
Aubrey led 19-15 at halftime and held the lead for most of the first half. Early in the third quarter, Grisso’s corner 3-pointer gave the Lady Chaparrals their largest lead at 26-17, as Aubrey’s balanced attack fueled its offense.
Aubrey improved to 9-12 overall and 1-0 in District 11-4A with the victory. Sanger dropped to 13-11 and 0-2 in district play.
“I think it helps dramatically having the balance,” Gathright said. “We’ve got nine girls contributing at any point in the game. And that helps, because we can bring people in and give people rest. I think that’s big for our success.”