Jonathan Hull
Wichita Falls Times Record News
Published  June 15, 2018

Alex Koulovatos knew his East Texas All-Star squad was in good hands on the court Friday.

Koulovatos had seen Carolyn Thomas carry his Burkburnett Lady Bulldogs across the finish line many times over the past few years. So when the Oil Bowl girls basketball all-star game was tied with 2:05 seconds remaining, it didn’t surprise Koulovatos what Thomas did next.

The recent Burkburnett graduate keyed a late 8-0 rally for the East, leading it to a 71-63 victory over the West at Rider Field House.

“I knew what she could do,” Koulovatos said. “I’ve seen her do it many times so it didn’t surprise me she did what she did. I was just happy to see her actually do it. This kind of game where she can freelance and not necessarily have to run set plays really fits her style.”

Thomas finished with a game-high 25 points. Henrietta’s Maddie Brown, who sparked the East’s rally from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter, had 17 points.

“Shout out to Maddie from Henrietta,” Thomas said. “She really played great. Her and (Archer City’s Kacey Hasley) had several important and significant offensive boards.”

Brown and Hasley gave the East a considerable size advantage that the West attempted to exploit with a full-court press to start the second half. That pressure defense keyed a 9-1 run to open the third quarter, putting the West up 43-32 with 4:18 left in the period.

Koulovatos called timeout and found the right words in the huddle.

“That’s really what they had to do against us,” Koulovatos said. “They needed to keep us in the front court and not get set up in the back court. That would keep us from getting the ball inside to our posts. Once we regrouped then we were fine.

“And I have to say that Maddie Brown from Henrietta made a big difference. She was big on the boards and defensively.”

The East responded by scoring 20 of the final 24 points in the third, taking a 52-47 lead into the fourth quarter. Brown had several steals and offensive rebounds to spark the rally. She scored 16 points in the second half.

“I could really tell that playing AAU ball has been helping me get better,” Thomas said. “Earlier in our season, (Bowie’s Kamryn Cantwell) really gave us problems. I know I got better because I was able to hang with her and defend her tonight. She’s a great player, but my confidence is really high right now.”

Cantwell still created problems for the East on Friday, scoring a team-high 18 points. She was complemented by Seymour’s Remie Haynes, who hit four 3-pointers as part of her 14 points. Benjamin’s Myca Flowers added 10.