High hopes and high stakes fell short of a victory for the Orangefield Lady Bobcats downed by the Navasota Lady Rattlers 59-39 in the area round of the Region III playoffs in Kingwood, Friday. It ended a gallant 25-6 season for the No. 9 ranked Lady Bobcats.

Navasota will move on to face Hamshire-Fannett, the only surviving Dist 21-3A lady basketball team, in the Class-3A Regional Tournament at Sam Houston State Colliseum, Feb. 27-28.

Navasota took command of the court early posting a 12-0 first quarter lead that held to just 50 seconds left in the period.Orangefield senior post Allie Beach broke the barrier hitting for two and picked up another point on a foul bringing the Lady Bobcats into the second quarter down 12-3.

Freshman guard Ashton Wagner, however, kicked in a second period rally hitting twice from the free throw line. Sophomore Casey Juneau layed up another two points on a steal and another point from the line nipping Navasota 12-7. Sophomore Carly Rucker added another point from the free throw line. Senior guard Olivia Wagner struck for two and senior point guard Jessica Weldon added another duce with 1:33 left in the half in a 21-15 game. Sophomore post Kasidy Hayes added another point from the line and with just 30 seconds left in the half Ashton Wagner was fouled and added two to chop Navasota’s lead within 6 points, 24-18 at the buzzer.

Plagued by turnovers, 17 in the first half alone, the Lady Bobcats would come within two points of the Lady Rattlers, 24-22, when Beach and junior post Aimee Scales both hit for two. Navasota answered with seven points before fouling Olivia Wagner who added a two points for Orangefield, 31-24. Hayes and Wagner combined to tack on four more points ending the period down 41-29.

Navasota ran away with the contest with an 18 point fourth quarter. The Lady Bobcats fought back but could only punch in 10. Olivia Wagner scored four more points in the final period. Weldon went 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Rucker and sophomore Morgan Taylor each added a point from fouls. When the buzzer sounded, Navasota had 59 points on the scoreboard, the young Lady Bobcats 39.

It was a disappointing finale for the three Lady Bobcat seniors. Beach, Weldon and Olivia Wagner have played together since youngsters in the Little Dribbler league.

The trio led the 2008-2009 Lady Bobcats that defeated Hardin-Jefferson 31-28, Feb. 13, in a co-championship playoff game to determine the No. 1 seed from Dist. 21-3A. Beach, who averaged 14 points a game managed just five points againt the Lady Rattlers. Olivia Wagner led the Lady Bobcats with nine points, Weldon was good for six.

The younger players accounted for the remainder of the scoring. Hayes had seven points, Ashton Wagner, four, Juneau, three, Rucker two and Scales, two.

The Lady Bobcats were hoping to avenge a 79-69 loss to Navasota last season in the Region III quarterfinals. It wasn’t to be. It was the third staight playoff trip for the Lady Bobcats. Twice under head basketball coach Chris Jost.

The UIL Class 3A State Championship tournament will be held March 5-7 at the Frank Erwin Center.