Defense Guides Longview Past Corsicana + Lady Lobos Reach Area Round For First Time Since 2010
BULLARD -- Both teams had their moments in Tuesday's Class 5A bi-district playoff game in Bullard.
Longview, the No. 20 team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' 5A poll, saved its best for last in a 49-35 win against Corsicana. It closed a battle which featured 10 lead changes on a 14-2 run.
"It was one of those games where I thought the game would end and I would cry," senior forward Halee Brewer said. "We've just had so many issues in the past getting past the first round. But it's also one of those things where we knew we could. We needed to have that confidence and go to the next level. If we had sat there and panicked we wouldn't have the drive and will to go play the next one."
The Lady Lobos (29-2) escaped the bi-district round for the first time since 2010.
It was no picnic. Corsicana (20-13), the third-place finished in District 16-5A, made sure of that.
Junior sharpshooter and team captain Destini Lunsford put up 17 points in the first half on the way to a game-best 22. She hit four first half 3-pointers and helped the Lady Tigers erase a 7-0 deficit for a 22-18 halftime lead.
Corsicana's largest lead was seven points, 20-13, with 2:45 to play in the second quarter.
Longview, the second-seeded team from District 15-5A after losing a first-place coin toss to Texas High, finished the period shooting 1-for-9 from the field. Fortunately, the team connected on five of six second quarter free throws to stay close.
"We didn't have a good first half at all," Lady Lobos head coach Keith Smith said. "I just felt like if we could put together a good 16 minutes that we'd be OK. We were able to do that. I think in the second half we played a lot better and held them to 11 points. Things got better."
Longview tied the game, 22-22, in the first minute of the second half with baskets from Deyonna Daniels and Mikayla Smith. Its defense recorded four steals in the third quarter and benefited from seven total Corsicana turnovers.
The Lady Tigers remained tied or only trailed by three points at the worst until the 3:02 mark of the third quarter, but senior Ravan Chism gave the Lady Lobos breathing room and momentum with a jumper just before the buzzer to make the score 35-29.
Lunsford got Corsicana within two points a final time at the 6:42 mark of the final period before the team gave up the 14-2 run.
Longview's defense did not give up a single point from the field in the fourth quarter and forced another eight turnovers with four steals in the game's final seven minutes.
Brewer led the run with six of her seven total points. She also finished the game with two blocks, a steal and six defensive rebounds.
"At first, I was all the way off," Brewer said, laughing. "I could not get anything together and the coaches at halftime were like, 'You need to calm down. We're depending on you. You need to get your head in the game. Don't get frustrated. Just be ready to go in the second half'. It really all came together. It came together for all of us."
Chism led Longview with 14 points. Mikayla Smith also reached double-digit scoring with 10 points and recorded a team-best three steals.
The Lady Lobos' reward for advancing out of the bi-district round for the first time in five seasons is a date with No. 23 Arlington Seguin. The game is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Friday at Wills Point High School.
Seguin routed Dallas Spruce, 83-9, Monday in its first round playoff game. The 74-point win will surely be a talking point in Longview's two practices prior to the game.
"They're going to be a task," Keith Smith said. "We're going to have to play better than we did tonight. That's the bottom line. They're very seasoned. I have a lot of respect for them. We're going to have to put together four quarters to play with those guys."
No. 20 Longview 49, Corsicana 35
Class 5A Bi-District Playoff Game
At Bullard High School, Bullard
Corsicana 6 16 7 6 -- 35
Longview 11 7 16 15 -- 49
CORSICANA (20-13) -- Destini Lunsford 22; Shamara Taylor 7; Kennady Betts 4; Jamie Reeves 2.
LONGVIEW (29-2)-- Ravan Chism 14; Mikayla Smith 10; Halee Brewer 7; Deyonna Daniels 7; Yasmine Bradley 6; Kiara Ross 5.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Corsicana: Lunsford (5). Longview: Ross.