MARTIN'S MILL -- Doug Barncastle has been the girls basketball coach at Martin's Mill for nine years. He's led the Lady Mustangs to the state tournament in each of the previous eight seasons, including three state championships.

And on Tuesday, he reached a milestone with his 300th career win after top-ranked Martin's Mill's 35-31 victory over rival LaPoynor.

"Wins to me are not that big of a deal, it's more exciting about the girls," said Barncastle, who was presented a banner commemorating the achievement following the game. "It shows the success they've had in the nine years I've been here. None of this would be possible without the good players we've had in the program and their dedication and hard work every day. It's grueling; it's hard to play at the level we play at for nine years. I'd like to think I'm the glue that makes it all stick, but I think that the players are the main pieces to the puzzle."

LaPoynor (23-8, 7-3 in District 17-A Division I) threatened to ruin the proceedings by cutting a 14-point deficit down to three with 1:10 remaining. But Martin's Mill (27-2, 10-0) freshman point guard Hailey Celsur knocked down one of two free-throw attempts with 11 seconds remaining to give the Lady Mustangs a four-point lead.

The crucial free throw accounted for one-third of Martin's Mill's fourth-quarter points as the Lady Mustangs played keep-away for virtually all of the final period. LaPoynor opted not to foul until late in the fourth, and Celsur's game-clinching free throw was Martin's Mill first attempt in the bonus.

"I knew that at some point they were going to have to start fouling," Barncastle said. "I was hoping I'd get the right person on the free-throw line. It kinda played out similar to how I was thinking."

Junior post Cheyenne Brown led Martin's Mill on the night with 21 points, 12 rebounds and two steals. But foul trouble forced her to the bench in the third quarter, in which LaPoynor outscored the Lady Mustangs 13-5 to trim the deficit to 32-28.

"I don't think we did a good job playing with the referees," Barncastle said. "This crew that we had kinda liked to call it tight and we didn't do a good job working with that. (Cheyenne Brown) got in foul trouble and we had to pull her out at about the five-minute mark (of the third quarter). It makes it hard when your big kid's not in the game."

Celsur finished with six points and three assists, while Cassidy McCoy had three points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists for Martin's Mill.

Kelsey Bristow led LaPoynor with 11 points, three assists and three steals. Terry Haley added six points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists, while Kivi Eldridge chipped in with six points and three boards.

McCoy's 3-pointer gave Martin's Mill a 7-3 lead going into the second quarter when Brown and the Lady Mustangs put on an offensive clinic. Brown scored 12 of her 16 first-half points in Martin's Mill's 20-point second quarter as the Lady Mustangs took a 27-15 lead into halftime.

Brown's offensive rebound and putback gave Martin's Mill its biggest lead of the night -- 29-15 -- one minute into the third quarter before LaPoynor began its rally.

Martin's Mill plays at Big Sandy, while LaPoynor is at Beckville on Friday.


No. 1 Martin's Mill 35, LaPoynor 31

District 17-A Division I Girls Basketball

LaPoynor              3   12   13    3   --   31
Martin's Mill           7   20    5    3   --   35
LaPOYNOR (23-8, 7-3) -- Kelsey Bristow, 11; Kivi Eldridge, 6; Terry Haley, 6; Jenny Warren, 4; Melody Avalos, 3; Kirstin Nance, 1.
MARTIN'S MILL (27-2, 10-0) -- Cheyenne Brown, 21; Hailey Celsur, 6; Cassidy McCoy, 3; Hannah Celsur, 2; Alyssa Pate, 2; Madison Daniel, 1.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- LaPoynor: Avalos, Bristow, Haley. Martin's Mill: McCoy.