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Pine Tree Sweeps Henderson Behind Strong Service Effort

Mackenzie Richardson had three of Pine Tree's 10 aces during Tuesday's home sweep of Henderson. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

LONGVIEW — Pine Tree’s service performance Tuesday night helped the Lady Pirates jump on Henderson early and put PT coach Leven Barker two wins away from a milestone.

The Lady Pirates swept Henderson 25-18, 25-19, 25-11 at the Pirate Center behind a service performance that had the Lady Lions reeling early. The win marked the 398th of Barker’s career.

Pine Tree, ranked 10th in the latest Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 4A poll, served six aces in the first game and finished with 10 for the match to move to 17-5 this season.

“I thought that was our strong point tonight,” Barker said of his team’s service effort. “From the get-to we served well, but as the night went on, our defense got better, which accumulated into our offense getting better. The communication got better as the night went on, but the serving carried us.”

Pine Tree's Emily Shelton. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Kennedy Sampson had 14 digs and three aces, while Mackenzie Richardson added three kills and three aces. Sky Holmes led Pine Tree with nine kills, six digs, and two aces. Emily Shelton did a little bit of everything, as usual, and finished with three kills, two blocks, 26 assists, and one ace.

Barker, who is in his fifth season at Pine Tree after coaching stints in Crockett and his alma mater, Mexia, said he’s not thinking about the 400-win milestone.

“It’s not even in my mind,” Barker said. “Right now my mind is getting ready for district and trying to figure out which team I want to play with once district gets here. We’re still in that process.”

Pine Tree’s Angel Jordan added 13 digs, and Dee Patterson and Devin Assenheimer had four kills apiece. Kerri Johnson had seven digs.

Tiarra Davis led Henderson (17-6), ranked 11th in Class 3A, with seven kills, while Kami McCaw had six kills and seven digs. Karley Free had two kills, 14 assists, and one ace, and Codie Whitehead had three kills. Brooke Towe added six digs.

Pine Tree's Devin Assenheimer. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Henderson led 6-1 in Game 1 before a 6-0 Pine Tree run. The Lady Pirates assembled a 13-3 run that turned the tide. Henderson closed to within 18-16, but Pine Tree finished Game 1 on a 7-2 run to take a 1-0 match advantage.

Pine Tree jumped to a 5-1 lead and never trailed. Kills by McKaylla Baylor and Patterson ended the second set. Pine Tree built another big lead in Game 3. Assenheimer had two early kills that helped the Lady Pirates to a 6-1 lead, and Shelton capped a 5-0 run with an ace for an 11-3 edge. Pine Tree closed the match on a 9-3 spurt fueled by two more Assenheimer kills and blocks from Shelton and Baylor.

Pine Tree is off this weekend before hosting John Tyler on Tuesday. Henderson travels to Nacogdoches on Friday.

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