Tom Bean's run ends in region quarterfinals

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Tom Bean's Emmy Pennell shoots over a pair of Muenster defenders in a Class 2A Region II quarterfinal contest

CELINA — No one told the Lady Tomcats it was going to be easy. Not making the playoffs. Not winning the district title. Not advancing a couple rounds in the bracket. And especially not facing last year’s state runner-up with an even gaudier record this season.

When Mandi Corbin saw the faces looking at back her on the bench and afterwards in the locker room, she saw almost the entire group she started this process with at Tom Bean.

The Lady Tomcats had put in the work over the past three seasons. Last year was a little bit better than the prior season, but the losses still were more than the wins and Tom Bean was still near the bottom of the district standings. There were no baby steps this year, just a giant lead that turned into one of the best season in program history.

A playoff appearance for the first time in eight years. A piece of the 14-2A championship — the first district title they could claim since 2001, which also was the last postseason victory before two weeks ago.

Another win led to the third round, a place Tom Bean hadn’t been since 1987.

“We’ve done something no other team has done in a long time. There’s no reason for heads to be hanging,” Corbin said. “They re-energized our program and the seniors were a big part of getting us to this point.”

It was here that the Lady Tomcats met their match, and Muenster has proven to be a thorn for all but one team so far.

The Lady Hornets made it all the way to the 2A title game and returned four starters intent on winning it all this year. They are halfway there are beating Tom Bean, 80-28, in a Class 2A Region II quarterfinal contest.

Muenster (28-1) will face Cisco in the region semifinals.

Emma Lowing and Emmy Pennell each scored eight points while Kaitlyn Lind chipped in six points for Tom Bean (21-5), which got an upclose look at the next level it will strive to reach despite losing seniors Meagan Warren, Kendal Cole, Bri Yale and Lind.

“That’s what we’re striving for. That shows what we need to work on,” Corbin said. “We have a good group coming in and I think we’ll be good next year as well. Next year it’s not just making the playoffs. Now let’s try to win here in the third round.”

Annie Anderle made nine three-pointers and finished with 37 points to lead the Lady Hornets while Martie McCoy added 16 points, Sarah Monday chipped in 12 points and Audrey Kubis finished with 10 points. Muenster made 13 three-pointers with eight coming in the first half.

“They can shoot the lights out and we knew that,” Corbin said. “You were going to have to play them at some point.”

The Lady Hornets’ only blemish on the season came in a playoff warm-up loss to TAPPS Class 6A Argyle Liberty Christian, 46-39, which ended their 25-game winning streak.

Muenster played like a team that has been nearly unbeatable. After Lowing hit a shot for Tom Bean’s first points to make it 4-2, the Lady Hornets went on a 10-0 run and on their way to a 22-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Anderle hit four threes in the frame, including two in the final 30 seconds. She had six in the first half for 18 points and Muenster went into the locker room up 42-7.

It was a 71-12 margin after three quarters. Even when Anderle didn’t make threes she still came away with points — twice she was fouled on her shots behind the arc and made all six free throws. The senior hit just one two-point shot, a foul-line jumper with 7:17 left. She made a pair of free throws on the next possession and then went to the bench.

Tom Bean had more points in the fourth quarter (16) than it did through three stanzas and all four of Pennell’s buckets came in that stretch.

It was a hard finish for the Lady Tomcats to take. It's never easy when a run like they had is over.

Region quarterfinals

Class 2A Region II

Muenster                         80

Tom Bean                        28