The Calallen Lady Cats pulled an upset against the Cherokees in their first meeting of the season, but the story was not the same Friday as Tuloso-Midway held onto a 48-44 win at Tuloso-Midway's gym.
The win not only clinched a playoff spot for T-M, but the Cherokees also got a share of the District 31-4A Championship.
"It's the first time we have been able to put a banner that says district champion in 11 years," said T-M coach Matt Oden. "It's real nice that we can put that up to add to our tradition of Cherokee basketball."
In their first meeting against each other last month, Calallen won 62-55. Friday's game evened the season series, 1-1.
"When Calallen and Tuloso-Midway have such a long-standing rivalry, records are thrown out the door," Oden said. "They are going to bring their best game, and so are we."
With the Cherokees leading 42-39, Tuloso-Midway's Brandi Park was at the free-throw line with less than 4 minutes left in the game.
Calallen's Kaitlin Hedrick rebounded the ball and found Amanda Haven on the fast break. Haven scored two, got the foul and tied the game 42-42, setting up for a dramatic finish between the two district rivals.
With less than a minute to go, the Wildcats were down 45-44 and Cherokee Kensi Terrell was at the foul line. After missing her shots, Haven grabbed the rebound, which was quickly stolen by Tuloso-Midway's Courtney Rhyne, who put up two of her team-leading 11 points.
With 15 seconds left, Cherokee Jessica Secoy just needed one free-throw shot to win the game. After making one of her two shots, it was out of reach for the Lady Wildcats.
Despite the loss, Calallen coach Beverly Barker was still smiling after the game.
"I think [Calallen] played as hard as they could," Barker said. "I'm proud of the way they performed."
Early in the game, Haven went down hard on the floor. She had to be carried out and the game was delayed for about two minutes. Haven was able to come back in the game, scoring a game-leading 23 points.
"I think she came out with some pain," Barker said. "She is a tough girl and played well."
In the second quarter, Haven played like she hadn't been injured. Of the Lady Wildcats' 12 points in the quarter, Haven scored all of them.
"Just to be where we are and in the playoffs this year, they have come a long way," Barker said.
Both Calallen and Tuloso-Midway begin their playoff runs this week.