Lexi Kirgan Guides Bullard Past Ferris In Class 4A Area Round
WILLS POINT -- No problems for Bullard in its 55-34 win against Ferris on a neutral floor in the Class 4A area round of the girls basketball state playoffs.
For the second straight tournament game, the No. 13 Lady Panthers' margin of victory came by double digits.
"We didn't shoot the ball as well as we can, but enough shots definitely went in that they had to guard us," Bullard head coach Barry Gill said. "Of course, when you get Lexi (Kirgan) in one-on-one situations that's usually advantageous for us."
That was the understatement of the night.
Kirgan, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, put up 26 points and recorded 13 rebounds in the decisive win. She also recorded six steals and six blocks.
The team as a whole beat Ferris on the glass, 26-15, and recorded 12 steals to the Lady Jackets' seven.
Ferris (22-10), the second-place team from District 13-4A and a 17-point winner against Emory Rains in the first round, threw multiple defensive strategies at Kirgan. It quickly had to settle for man-to-man defense because Bullard (31-4) dinged it early with solid shooting outside the paint.
Lady Panthers guards Maddy Slayter and Lauren Zachry opened scoring in the playoff game with back-to-back 3-pointers, and the defense worked Ferris into a hole with four rebounds, two Kirgan blocks and four other various takeaways before the Lady Jackets got their first points from the floor.
Ferris rallied for a 12-6 deficit at the end of the first quarter. It trailed 8-1 through the game's first seven minutes.
Kirgan, who shot 2-for-2 from the free throw line in the first period, began to come alive in the second quarter. She scored 12 more points before halftime.
Bullard led 26-12 at the break and opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run with seven points from Kirgan, 3-point shots from Zahcry and DeAnna Howard as well as a jump shot from Kristen Chamberlain.
"It's been hard through district because I've been double teamed and triple teamed," Kirgan said. "In this game, they would double team but sometimes leave me open, one-on-one. It all comes down to the guards. I got clean and crisp passes all night."
Kirgan missed the final 51 seconds of the third quarter after going knee-to-knee with a teammate in pursuit of a loose ball but returned for the start of the final period. She scored five more points before being shut down for the night, up 54-26 with 2:34 to play.
Slayter finished second in scoring for Bullard with seven points and one assist. Zachry closed the game with six points and two assists. Hannah Lloyd also had two assists in addition to four points.
Jade Thurmon led Ferris with 17 points.
The Lady Panthers will take on Canton -- winners of a 49-39 area round game against Paris North Lamar -- Tuesday at Emory Rains High School. A specific time will be coordinated between the two schools during the weekend.
Canton finished the regular season as runner up in District 14-4A and it has a 23-9 overall record.
Bullard surpassed its second round finish last season with the win against Ferris. It has not advanced to the third round or beyond since its 2010 regional finals appearance with now-Texas Tech standout Minta Spears.
"It's so exciting to be in this position," Kirgan said. "I'm proud to be a part of this group. Hopefully we'll get far this year."
No. 13 Bullard 55, Ferris 34
Class 4A Area Round Playoff Game
At Wills Point High School, Wills Point
Bullard 9 17 17 12 -- 55
Ferris 6 6 7 15 -- 34
BULLARD (31-6) -- Lexi Kirgan 26; Maddy Slayter 7; DeAnna Howard 6; Lauren Zachry 6; Kristen Chamberlain 5; Hannah Lloyd 4; Abby Story 1.
FERRIS (22-10)-- Jade Thurmon 17; Kameron Rogers 5; Baylee Bakely 3; Taylor Abrone 2; Ieshia Dickerson 2; Katelyn Moreno 2; Mickhayla Nunez 2;Julia Connell 1.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Bullard: Howard (2), Zachry (2), Lloyd, Slayter. Ferris: Bakely, Thurmon.