Celina Uses Defensive Pressure + Red-Hot Shooting To Eliminate Canton In Regional Semis
COMMERCE -- The Canton Eaglettes battled adversity all season long, but finally met a challenge they could not overcome.
Celina's full-court defensive pressure, half-court traps, and lights-out shooting from the floor made life miserable for Canton in a 79-50 rout in their Class 4A Region II semifinal Friday night at Texas A&M-Commerce's Field House.
The win advanced seventh-ranked Celina (32-4) to Saturday afternoon's regional championship rematch with No. 3 Argyle, while Canton finished its season at 24-10.
Canton returned four starters from last season's playoff squad, but had to withstand several injuries to key performers in order to reach the regional rounds.
"We were going to be bringing back four starters, and one of them tore her ACL," said Canton coach Dana Irvin. "We had another coming back who re-tore her ACL. So we haven't had the group out there or the bench that we were hoping to have. We practically had five varsity starters who played the season, and we were happy to actually get to where we were. Not many people expected that."
Celina took full advantage of Canton's short-handedness by forcing 26 turnovers, including nine in the opening quarter that ended with a 28-10 Ladycats lead.
"We just didn't see the floor; they're very big," Irvin said of Celina. "We didn't see the floor as well as we normally see it, so that rattled us a little bit. They're very athletic, they're very fast, and when you don't have that bench to practice against, then it's really hard."
Senior forward Kynese Davis led Celina with 27 points to go with four rebounds and four steals. Four other Ladycats finished in double figures -- Gabby Standifer had 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals, KJ Statsny added 12 points, four boards and two assists, McKale Grant had 10 points, six rebounds and six steals, and Alex Jones chipped in with 10 points as well.
"(Celina) shot the ball really, really well," Irvin said. "There were times when I actually thought we had a hand in their face and they were still hitting the 3's. You can't take that away from them, they're a really great team."
Taylor Tidwell led Canton with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Courtney Roberts added 10 points, Lilly Nelson provided eight points, two rebounds and two assists, and Madison McCaffity finished with six points, four boards and a pair of assists.
Tidwell's running jumper cut Celina's lead to 6-5 early in the first quarter, but the Ladycats took complete control and never looked back with a 19-2 run in the next five minutes, getting seven made baskets from four different players.
The Celina lead got as big as 27 points in the second quarter, swelled to 31 in the third, and expanded to 36 in the final period.
No. 7 Celina 79, Canton 50
Girls Class 4A Region II Semifinal
At Texas A&M-Commerce's Field House
Celina 28 17 20 14 -- 79
Canton 10 14 10 16 -- 50
CELINA (32-4) -- Kynese Davis, 27; Gabby Standifer, 17; KJ Statsny, 12; McKale Grant, 10; Alex Jones, 10; Kris Davis, 3.
CANTON (24-10) -- Taylor Tidwell, 11; Courtney Roberts, 10; Lilly Nelson, 8; Destiny Dollenger, 6; Madison McCaffity, 6; Emily Watson, 5; Sarah Bell, 2; Hannah Welty, 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Celina: Jones, Statsny. Canton: Dollenger (2), Roberts (2), Tidwell, Watson.