Written by Matt Wixon
27 turnovers doom Kennedale's bid for 3A girls title in 69-62 loss to Mexia
AUSTIN — After a missed free throw with 29 seconds left, Kennedale had a chance to tie Saturday. But like so many times in the Class 3A state championship game, its golden opportunity was stolen away in a 69-62 loss to Mexia at the Frank Erwin Center.
With her team trailing, 64-62, Kennedale forward Travanti Downes grabbed a rebound after two straight missed free throws by Mexia. But as Downes began dribbling down the court, Mexia senior guard Brechelle Beachum stole the ball from behind.
“I knew that she wasn’t going to see me,” said Beachum, who had 14 points and five steals. “I knew it was an opportunity.”
Mexia (36-3) made the most of the opportunity, sinking its next three free throws. That sealed the first state title for Mexia, which collected 19 steals and got an MVP performance from freshman point guard Na’Teshia Owens (23 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals).
Kennedale (31-7), which was also 3A runner-up in 2008, was led by senior forward Autummn Williams, who had 19 points and six rebounds despite sitting out most of the third quarter after picking up her fourth foul. Junior guard McKinley Bostad also had 19 points and was 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
After Mexia bounced to an early 9-2 lead, Kennedale finished the first quarter on a 15-3 run. Kennedale stretched the lead to 27-17 in the second quarter before Mexia regained the lead with a fast break-fueled 13-2 rally shortly before halftime.
Neither team could pull away after that, and with 36 seconds left, Williams shot a 15-footer that looked like it would tie the score at 64-64. But the shot hit the back of the rim, and Mexia got the rebound.
Mexia made two steals in the final 25 seconds, giving Kennedale 27 turnovers in the game. Mexia had 18.
“We knew going into the game that the team that had the fewest turnovers would have a good chance to win,” Kennedale coach Vance Hughes said.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.