Tatum Downs Saltillo + Lipan Edges White Oak to Set Up Saturday’s Tenaha Holiday Hoops Girls Championship Matchup
TENAHA — Free throws cursed Tatum early, but helped the Lady Eagles deliver a win late in Friday’s semifinal at the Tenaha Holiday Hoops tournament.
Tatum built an 11-point fourth-quarter lead thanks mostly to a high-pressure defense, but held on with 6-for-6 free-throw shooting in the final minute to hold off Saltillo 52-47 to advance to Saturday’s 2 p.m. tournament championship game against Lipan.
Tatum (18-2) missed 7 of 8 first-quarter free-throw attempts, but Amee Smith hit all four of her chances at the charity stripe in the final minute, while Sydni Centers went 2-for-2. Saltillo (16-4) twice cut Tatum’s lead to four points in the final 60 seconds, but Smith and Centers’ free-throw shooting helped the Lady Eagles hold on.
“We made free throws finally. We’ve been working on them so hard. But you know free throws are a mental thing,” said Tatum coach Patricia Nelson. “Hopefully that’ll give them a little confidence. That’s the first time we’ve beaten them in four tries, so I’m excited.”
Saltillo’s loss means Saturday’s championship game won’t feature the top two teams in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class A Division II poll: No. 1 Saltillo and No. 2 Lipan, which beat White Oak 59-53 in Friday’s first semifinal. Saltillo plays White Oak for third place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the Special Events Center.
Kiana Turner and Alexes Bell spearheaded a Tatum defense that forced turnover after turnover. Turner had six points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals, while Bell added 17 points, four assists, and three steals. Smith had 17 points on 5-for-9 field-goal shooting and 6-for-6 free-throw shooting. Kaylah Starling gave Tatum an interior presence with eight points and four blocked shots.
“We’re so fast that we need to slow down sometimes. I thought a lot of time, we were out of control,” Nelson said. “But overall I thought they played a good game.”
Victoria Stretcher had a big game for Saltillo. The senior post led the Lady Lions with 17 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Andrea Tippitt had 10 points and five rebounds, while Ariel Tippitt added eight points. Kendall Bain had five points and a game-high five assists.
After falling behind 44-33 with less than three minutes left, Saltillo coach Garry Davison successfully used offense-defense substitutions, trapping defense, and quick-passing offense to cut into the Tatum lead. Bain’s three-pointer trimmed the lead to 48-44 with 30 seconds left, and Chelsea Moore’s layup made it 50-46 with 14.3 seconds.
Smith then stepped to the line for his second final-minute pair from the charity stripe to ice the game.
Lanie Roberts Leads Lipan Past White Oak, 59-53
TENAHA — Lanie Roberts gave White Oak fits all afternoon, but saved her best for last.
Leading by two points with about 90 seconds left, the freshman standout scored on a top-of-the-key isolation drive to cap a 28-point performance that led Lipan to a 59-53 win in Friday’s semifinal at the Tenaha Holiday Hoops tournament in the Special Events Center.
Roberts, who had to change uniforms in the first half because of a busted nose, hit her first five shots and scored 11 first-quarter points. She ended the first half with 17 points and three rebounds and finished with 28 points, six rebounds, and three steals to lead Class A Division II’s No. 2 team to Saturday’s 2 p.m. championship game against Tatum.
White Oak (13-4) plays Saltillo for third place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the Special Events Center.
White Oak’s Whitney Simmons scored with 1:51 left to cut Lipan’s lead to 55-53, but Roberts answered with the take. Lipan added two free throws in the final minute to prevent White Oak from coming back.
The Ladynecks gained a brief lead, 35-34, on Landry Seimears’ pull-up in the lane three minutes into the third quarter, but Lipan responded with an 8-0 run and never trailed again.
Roberts, who scored 10 points in Thursday’s 63-47 quarterfinal win against Elysian Fields, picked up the slack created by a lack of scoring from Lipan’s veteran backcourt. Taylor Herrera and Rhiana Michou, who combined for 34 points vs. Elysian Fields, scored eight points against White Oak.
Freshman guard Cayman Sutton led White Oak with 15 points, including 4-for-8 three-point shooting. Sutton also had five rebounds and three assists. Teammate Amber Lunstedt had a big second half to help keep White Oak close, tallying 10 points and four rebounds after intermission. Simmons had 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Lipan’s Kayla Wheeler scored six first-quarter points and helped the Lady Indians build an 8-1 lead. She finished with 12 points. Post Shauna Coleman had 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
White Oak’s Dorothy Swanson had five points and a game-high eight rebounds. White Oak freshmen guards Makenzie Goll and Allison Goll also contributed. Makenzie had six points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Allison had six boards off the bench.
Tenaha Holiday Hoops
Tatum 52, 1A D-II No. 1 Saltillo 47
Special Events Center, Tenaha
Saltillo — 4 11 9 23 — 47
Tatum — 7 12 12 21 — 52
Saltillo (16-4) – Victoria Stretcher 17, Andrea Tippitt 10, Ariel Tippitt 8, Karli Brewer 5, Kendall Bain 5, Chelsea Moore 2.
Tatum (18-2) – Alexes Bell 17, Amee Smith 17, Kaylay Starling 8, Kiana Turner 6, Sydni Centers 4.
Tenaha Holiday Hoops
1A D-II No. 2 Lipan 59, White Oak 53
Special Events Center, Tenaha
White Oak (13-4) — Cayman Sutton 15, Whitney Simmons 10, Amber Lunstedt 10, Makenzie Goll 6, Dorothy Swanson 5, Desiree Vining 3, Allison Goll 2, Landry Seimears 2.
Lipan — Lanie Roberts 28 Kayla Wheeler 12, Shauna Coleman 11, Taylor Herrera 4, Rhiana Michou 4.
Other girls results from Friday’s action at the Tenaha Holiday Hoops tournament …
- Cayuga 53, Sabine 51
- Slocum 69, Elysian Fields 39
Saturday’s Fifth-Place Game
- Cayuga vs. Slocum, 11 a.m., Tenaha’s Special Events Center
Saturday’s Fifth-Place Bracket Consolation Game
- Sabine vs. Elysian Fields, 1:30 p.m., Tenaha’s Tiger Gymnasium
- Tenaha 58, San Augustine 52
- Leggett 54, Avery 48
- Chireno 42, Joaquin 18
- Harleton 54, Whitewright 35
- Leggett 55, Tenaha 37
- Harleton 45, Chireno 34
Saturday’s Consolation Final
- Leggett vs. Chireno, 9:30 a.m., Tenaha’s Special Events Center
Saturday’s Consolation Games
- San Augustine vs. Avery, 10:30 a.m., Tenaha’s Tiger Gymnasium
- Joaquin vs. Whitewright, noon, Tenaha’s Tiger Gymnasium