Alba-Golden Tops Bowie For Class 3A Region II Championship Game Appearance
HEATH -- It was worth the wait.
No. 10 Alba-Golden scraped by Bowie, 59-53, in the Class 3A Region II semifinals Saturday at Rockwall-Heath High School's nearly sold out gym. The win sets up a date with No. 1 Sunnyvale in the regional championship, a rare Sunday game after weather conditions delayed the regional tournament's start by a day.
"Sunnyvale is a great team," Lady Panthers head coach Brad Gibson said. "We played them in the championship game of the College Station tournament and they beat us in overtime. Our kids know that we're right there with them on that level. We've just got to take care of the ball and take care of the little things if we're going to try to win state."
No. 13 Bowie (30-6), a group from in between Ft. Worth and Wichita Falls, was a pretty good team, too. It consistently led until the final two minutes of the third quarter.
At that point, senior guard Jordan Dawson hit a 3-point shot to tie the game, 38-38. Bowie missed on a quick shot its next trip down the floor, and Shelby Wright gave Alba-Golden (35-3) its first lead -- while drawing a foul -- since taking a 4-2 advantage two minutes into the first quarter.
Bowie tied the game a final time on Logan McMurry's 3-point shot with 13 seconds remaining remaining in the third quarter, but Macie Arrington hit a trey the other way to give the Lady Panthers a 44-41 lead at the end of the period.
Alba-Golden nearly gave up the lead at the 4:22 mark of the fourth quarter, up 49-48, with a foul against the double bonus, but Bowie missed the first free throw and nullified the second shot with a lane violation.
The Lady Panthers outscored Bowie 10-5 to close the game.
"It's a great feeling," Dawson said. "We had to make our free throws at the end and we did. Me, personally, I've never been this far in the playoffs. This is such a great experience and I'm glad I'm getting to do it my senior year."
Dawson scored a game-best 17 points. Arrington scored 13 points and Caitlin Lennon chipped in 10 to round out Lady Panthers in double digits.
Brittney Pound led Bowie in defeat with 15 points. Logan McMurray scored 10.
Both teams shot higher than 40 percent from the field, but Bowie put up 11 less attempts and lost the turnover and rebounding statistics by small numbers.
Lennon recorded a game-best three steals to spearhead the Lady Panthers' nine total steals as part of 15 Bowie turnovers.
Alba-Golden lost the physical rebound battle by one, 27-26, but it won the overall statistic with a small advantage on failed shots that bounced out of bounds.
The Lady Panthers started the game with just three of their first 11 free throws going down. They recovered for a 12-for-26 night, including 7-for-11 shooting in the final four minutes.
Bowie made 13 of 18 freebies in the game.
"We didn't shoot the ball very good tonight at times and we dang sure didn't shoot it well from the free throw line," Gibson said. "But you've got to make free throws down the stretch in tight ball game like this if you're going to advance. I was proud of them."
Alba Golden's early 4-2 lead evaporated in an 11-2 first quarter Bowie run, which helped give the opposition a 16-11 lead after one period.
A 3-pointer from Brooke Brickey capped a comeback for a 28-28 game with 40 seconds to play in the half, but Bowie hit two free throws just before the buzzer.
Bowie held a lead that ranged from one to three points through the first six minutes of the third quarter. Before Dawson hit the game-tying shot from behind the arc.
Alba-Golden will meet Sunnyvale at 2 p.m. Sunday inside Rockwall-Heath High School's gym. The game determines which team will represent the region this week's Class 3A state tournament in San Antonio.
Sunnyvale defeated Winnsboro, 71-40, Saturday. Alba-Golden watched the rout from the stands.
"We're very ready to play Sunnyvale," Dawson said. "We played them in a preseason game, took them into overtime and lost by three. They know what we can do and we know what they can do, so we're just going to go out and fight the whole game."
No. 10 Alba-Golden 59, No. 13 Bowie 53
Girls Class 3A Region II Semifinal
At Rockwall-Heath High School, Heath
Alba-Golden 11 17 16 15 -- 59
Bowie 16 14 11 12 -- 53
ALBA-GOLDEN (35-3) -- Jordan Dawson 17; Macie Arrington 13; Caitlin Lennon 10; Shebly Wright 7; Brooke Brickey 5; CeTara Carter 4; Raven Johnson 3.
BOWIE (31-5) -- Brittney Pound 15; Logan McMurray 10; Courtney Brady 9; Jordan Brightwell 9; Kamryn Cantwell 8; Henslee Ogle 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Alba-Golden: Dawson (2), Arrington, Brickey, Johnson. Bowie: McMurray (2), Pound (2), Brady.