Martin’s Mill Pulls Away From Zavalla + One Win From Eighth Consecutive State Tournament
TYLER — The Martin’s Mill Lady Mustangs used a 12-4 fourth quarter run to knock off Zavalla, 53-46, in a Class A Division I Region III semifinal at Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gym.
The Lady Mustangs (28-4), ranked No. 1 in the final TABC poll, moved on to their eighth consecutive regional final where they’ll play Slocum at 10 a.m. Saturday at TJC.
Martin’s Mill and Zavalla (31-7) began the fourth quarter tied at 38, but pulled away late. Haily Jenkins’ bucket began the 12-4 run, which was capped by a Taylor Munns steal and three-point play with 1:13 remaining.
“We like to pride ourselves on our fourth quarters,” said Martin’s Mill coach Doug Barncastle. “We dug our heels in and started executing. I told the girls at halftime,’they’re making us do things unorthodox, stuff we’re not used to doing.’ I thought in the third we played better, but in the fourth we really focused and got back to playing our style of basketball. When you’ve got two ball-handlers like Jenkins and Munns, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Around the three-minute mark (in the fourth), we went to four corners to stretch them out and bring it home.”
Jenkins led all scorers with 17 points, a game-high seven assists and three steals. Sophomore post Cheyenne Brown added 16 points, six boards and four blocks, while Munns tallied 10 points and six steals. Freshman Alyssa Pate chipped in with six points — all in the first quarter.
Zavalla was led by the 6-foot-4 junior Caitlyn Lambert, who finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Shelby Kay Lee had 14 points, while Sara Dugat and Shelby Cryer combined for 18 points and six boards.
Martin’s Mill opened up the game on an 8-0 run thanks to Pate’s six points, Jenkins’ four assists and Munns’ four steals. The Lady Mustangs stretched their lead to 17-6 after Jenkins found Brown for the layup at the 1:23 mark of the first.
Zavalla punched back in the second as Cryer and Lee combined for 13 points of the Lady Eagles’ 19 second-quarter points. Lee’s long 3-pointer capped a 17-7 run that gave Zavalla its first lead of the game, 25-24, with just less than two minutes remaining in the half.
After a long-range jumper by Lambert and a 3-pointer from Jenkins, the teams went into halftime tied at 27-27.
The teams traded early runs in the third. Martin’s Mill opened the period with a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Jenkins no-look dish to Brown for a 34-27 advantage.
Zavalla answered with a 9-0 run, started when Lambert fed Lee for the baseline triple and ended by a Lambert putback in the post, which gave the Lady Eagles a 36-34 lead with 1:45 remaining in the third. After Brown sank two free throws for Martin’s Mill, Lee hit Dugat with a backdoor pass for the layup that tied the game entering the fourth.