Bullard, Winnsboro, Pittsburg Girls Victorious + Martin’s Mill Falls in East Texas Playoff Preview
TYLER — The duo of Lexi Kirgen and Bridgette Taylor combined for 41 points, and Bullard beat Zavalla 54-41 in a warmup game Saturday at the fifth annual East Texas Playoff Preview at UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
Bullard led 35-31 after three quarters, and busted open the game with 19 fourth-quarter points. Kirgen had a game-high 22 points, while Taylor added 19 points and three assists.
Zavalla (29-6), ranked No. 13 in Class A Division I, was led by Caitlyn Lambert’s double-double — 16 points and 11 rebounds. Sara Dugat tallied 13 points and three steals, while Shelby Kay Lee poured in seven points and four assists.
Taylor had five early points to lead the Lady Panthers to a 13-9 first quarter advantage. Zavalla won the second, 13-10, behind Lambert’s eight points and was down only one at halftime, 23-22.
Kirgen opened the third with a 3-pointer, and after Taylor’s back-to-back buckets, Bullard led 35-31 after three.
Bullard opened the fourth on a 13-6 run, started by Taylor’s nice dribble-drive layup and capped by Taylor’s two free throws for a 48-37 lead at the 2:54 mark of the final stanza.
Winnsboro Outlasts Kerens, 50-45
The Winnsboro Lady Raiders had the outside touch to overcome a resilient Kerens squad, winning 50-45 in a warmup game between state-ranked teams.
Winnsboro’s (22-10) Reagan Johnson hit a big three-pointer, giving the Lady Raiders a 44-40 lead with 4:54 left in the game. Then Bailey Swanner finished at the hoop with her left hand, pushing Winnsboro’s advantage to six, 46-40. Johnson’s next two free throws put the game away with just less than a minute remaining.
Hannah Pinnell had a team-high 15 points, while Dani Mabry totaled eight points for Winnsboro, ranked No. 20 in Class 2A. Sisters Bailey and Mackenzie Swanner combined for 14 points, 14 rebounds and seven steals.
Taylor Ames led all scorers with 18 points, and added five boards for Kerens (25-5), which is ranked No. 4 in Class A Division I. Breanna Wells and Tinesha Tolliver combined for 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Winnsboro shot 9-for-12 from the charity stripe, and hit six 3-pointers to beat a bigger, more physical Kerens team. The Lady Raiders also held a 22-16 rebounding edge over the Ladycats as well.
Leading 23-22 heading into the third quarter, Winnsboro went on an 8-4 run, started by a Mabry jump-shot and capped by Abigail Ramirez’ trey that gave Winnsboro a 31-26 lead. Kerens finished the third on an 11-4 run, thanks to Wells’ four points and three Cambree Betts’ assists.
Big Second Half Leads Mexia Past Martin’s Mill
Behind Brechelle Beachum’s 20 points and a stingy second half defense, the Mexia LadyCats beat Martin’s Mill, 51-48, in a tuneup before next week’s playoffs.
Beachum had 13 second-half points to go with eight rebounds and two steals. Ashley Johnson notched 10 points and 10 boards, and Bre Stoner added eight points and a couple of steals.
The LadyCats, the No. 7-ranked team in Class 3A, win overshadowed tremendous performances by Cheyenne Brown and Haily Jenkins of Martin’s Mill, the top-ranked team in Class A Division I.
Brown, a sophomore, had a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Jenkins poured in 21 points. Senior post Megan Weatherford added six rebounds and five blocks and Taylor Munns chipped in seven points, six rebounds and three steals.
Down one at halftime, 24-23, Mexia (28-3) scored 17 points in the third thanks to a defense that created nine steals, six in the third stanza.
Both teams traded punches in the fourth, but Beachum scored four straight points down the stretch, hitting a jumper in the lane and sinking two free throws with 28 seconds remaining.
Martin’s Mill (27-4) jumped on Mexia early in the first with six points by Brown and three blocks by Weatherford, and led 15-11 after one.
Jenkins opened the second quarter with four straight points, a free throw and a 3-pointer, then made an outstanding save and dish to Brown for the layup as the Lady Mustangs led by 11 at the 5:33 mark. But Mexia finished on a 6-0 run thanks to a strong move to the hole by Stoner and trailed Martin’s Mill by one, 24-23, at halftime.
Pittsburg Overcomes Slow start, Blows Out Howe
The Pittsburg Lady Pirates had an uncharacteristically poor first half against the Howe Lady Bulldogs.
They more than made up for it in the second half, holding the Lady Bulldogs to nine second-half points en route to a 55-38 victory in the teams’ warmup before the playoffs.
Pittsburg’s Shakira Duffy and Cheyenne Rainey combined for 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Kasey Avinger added eight points for the Lady Pirates (28-5), ranked No. 13 in Class 3A.
Riley Harvey led Howe (26-5) with 11 points and Baleigh Hudson chimed in with nine points for the Lady Bulldogs, which is ranked 16th in 2A.
Howe jumped out to a 21-9 first-half lead, thanks to four 3-pointers and led 29-22 at intermission. But Pittsburg started the third on a 4-0 run, and Rainey’s jumper gave the Lady Pirates the lead, 34-33 — their first of the game.
It was all Pittsburg from that point, as the Lady Pirates outscored Howe, 21-5, in the final nine minutes of the contest.