RUSK — On a night when they didn't shoot particularly well and had an obvious size-disadvantage, the Palestine Ladycats used stifling pressure defense to get what they wanted.

What they wanted was a bi-district playoff victory, which Palestine earned with a 53-45 win against Pollok Central on Monday at Eagle Coliseum.

The Ladycats advance to play China Spring, the champions of District 17-3A, in the area round at 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana High School.

Palestine shot only 31 percent from the field, but forced countless Central turnovers — many in the backcourt — to get transition baskets.

Senior Dana Whitehead led Palestine with 22 points and six rebounds, while Paradyse Page had 17 points. Bree Jackson had eight.

Katelyn Boles led Central with 21 points. Teammate Shelby Finch had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor Due scored 12 points before fouling out.

Every time Central made a run, the Ladycats answered.

Central started the game fast, with the Lady Dogs taking an early 7-2 lead. But Palestine answered that run with a 12-2 run and never gave back the lead. Midway through the third quarter, Central cut the lead to two before Palestine scored five points in a row to force a Lady Dogs timeout.

Central then cut Palestine's lead to 35-32, but, that's when Palestine senior Dana Whitehead really started making her presence known. Whitehead hit a three to end the Central run and ended a personal 0-for-10 start from behind the three-point line in the game. She added another three at the third-quarter buzzer for a five-point Palestine lead.

Central again made a push, cutting the deficit to one point, 41-40, early in the fourth quarter, but Palestine's Kierra Wilson responded with a pair of free throws for a three-point lead with about four minutes remaining.

That was the closest Central got the rest of the game.