TYLER -- Class A Division II's top-ranked Saltillo Lady Lions defeated No. 5 Strawn 45-27 in a Region III semifinal at Tyler Junior College's Wagstaff Gymnasium on Friday afternoon.

Twin sisters Ariel and Andrea Tippit, who combined for 23 points and 18 rebounds, led Saltillo, which plays No. 7 Coolidge in Saturday's 7:30 p.m. Region III championship. The winner advances to next week's state tournament in Austin.

Saltillo's Victoria Stretcher added 12 points and five boards, while Kendall Bain chipped in with four points, six rebounds, and six assists.

Saltillo, which led 10-4 after the first quarter, staged a 14-6 spurt in the second quarter, and led 24-10 at halftime, behind eight points apiece from Andrea Tippit and Stretcher.

A 10-0 Saltillo run started the second half to push the Lady Lions' lead to 34-10 in the middle of the third.

Saltillo dominated every statistical category, including outrebounding Strawn 38-12 and registering a 14-2 assists advantage.

Strawn (30-7) started the fourth on a 7-0 run thanks to sophomore post Jayde Price's two jumpers in the lane and a triple by Shelly Abbott. That narrowed the margin to 14 points, 36-22, at the 4:55 mark.

But when Andrea Tippit's putback immediately answered, pushing Saltillo's lead back to 16, where the Lady Lions cruised the final four minutes.

 

Strawn, whose roster includes seven sophomores, two juniors, and a freshman, was led by Price's 13 points and five rebounds. Abbott added five poiints, four boards, and four steals, while Jacqueline Beruman chimed in with six points - on two three-pointers.