Lady Pirates fall in first game
COLLINSVILLE — The change was inevitable from the moment last season ended. Five senior starters left an entirely new starting lineup to follow in their big shoes: three straight district titles, back-to-back region quarterfinal trips and at least 30 wins the past two years.
The first steps for a bunch of Collinsville freshmen and sophomores did not go as planned during the Lady Pirates’ 79-44 season-opening loss against Sam Rayburn. The good thing is they will have plenty more to come.
“I think we played hard. I was proud of the effort,” Collinsville head coach Daniel Johnson said. “We know it’s going to be an uphill battle for a couple of weeks.”
The Lady Pirates were eliminated from the volleyball playoffs on Thursday and made the quick turnaround with all seven players having just three practices before starting their next season.
“Defensively I thought we got tired,” Johnson said. “Each and every game I’ll be looking for improvement.”
Katie Johnson scored 17 points, Madison Ashton added 14 points,Addisyn McDonnell had nine points and 13 rebounds and Devyn Elvington grabbed eight rebounds for the Lady Pirates, who play Pilot Point on Friday and Campbell on Saturday.
Collinsville has no seniors and just one junior. Four freshmen and a pair of sophomores make up the bulk of the roster and only Ashton and Johnson were on varsity last season in reserve roles.
“Our goal is to get prepared for district,” Johnson said. “That’s how we are going to approach these games. I think we are capable of being a playoff team by the time we get to district. We have the potential to be good.”
Addie Nicholas scored 24 points, A.J. Johnson added 20 points, Avery Cheffin chipped in 10 points and Kalen Cockrill totaled eight points and eight rebounds for Sam Rayburn (2-0), which built up a 20-point half-time lead.
The Lady Rebels took advantage on the boards and by forcing at least eight turnovers in each of the first three quarters to widen the gap.
Katie Johnson provided a little bit of a spark for the Lady Pirates in the middle of the third quarter with a pair of three-pointers but Sam Rayburn was able to dominate the paint for easy baskets, hit their free throws and A.J. Johnson made a three-pointer in the final minute of the frame to give the Lady Rebels a 63-36 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.
Chaffin scored eight in the second quarter as the Lady Rebels went into the locker room with a 41-21 lead. The Lady Pirates played better in that stretch but the flashes weren’t enough to keep Collinsville within striking distance. Ashton had 12 points before the break.
Sam Rayburn opened the game with an 8-0 burst before Ashton hit a free throw in the middle of the first quarter to put the Lady Pirates on the board. It was down to a two-possession game when A.J. Johnson and Bayley Williams connected on consecutive three-pointers to push the Lady Rebels out to a 15-3 advantage.
Katie Johnson’s two free throws made it a 17-7 deficit following the opening eight minutes.
Sam Rayburn 79