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Tatum Girls Take Title Trophy in 55-50 Victory Over Lipan in Tenaha Holiday Hoops Championshiop

Tatum’s girls team poses after beating Lipan 55-50 to win the 2012 Tenaha Holiday Hoops girls championship Saturday at the Special Events Center. (Gabe Brooks, ETSN.fm)

TENAHA — Class A Division II girls basketball teams better be glad Tatum is a Class 2A school.

Tatum completed their 1-2 knockout of 1A D-II’s top two teams Saturday, edging second-ranked Lipan 55-50 in the Tenaha Holiday Hoops tournament championship at the Special Events Center.

Tatum (19-2), which beat No. 1 Saltillo 52-47 in Friday’s semifinals, trailed 50-49 with 1:20 left when Rhiana Michou got a steal and dished to Lipan freshman sensation Lanie Roberts for a layup. Tatum’s Amee Smith answered with a driving scoop layup for a 51-50 advantage with a minute remaining, and the Lady Eagles turned up their defense for the final 60 seconds.

Tatum held Lipan scoreless in that span, getting five stops to keep the Lady Indians (18-3) off the scoreboard. Kiana Turner got a big rebound off a Shauna Coleman miss with 38 seconds left and Tatum leading 52-50, then Smith got a steal with 22 seconds to play and the Lady Eagles clinging to a 53-50 advantage. Smith missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Tatum got a deadball rebound, which led to Sydni Centers icing the game with two free throws with 18.5 seconds left.

“It was a combination of playing good defense and knowing where (Roberts) was. That kid is going to be so good,” Nelson said. “I told them in the huddle, ‘Give them one shot, and then we’re gonna run.’ They’re either gonna stop the ball or we’re gonna get a layup or make some free throws.”

Centers, who was named all-tournament, hit 4 of 6 free-throw attempts in the final 50 seconds. She finished with a team-high 14 points, while tournament MVP Alexes Bell, a sophomore, had 13 points, four assists, and two steals. Smith added 10 points, three assists, and three steals.

Turner was a terror on the offensive glass, finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds (seven offensive), four assists, and three steals. All-tournament post Kaylah Starling, who had her hands full matched up with Lipan all-tournament post Shauna Coleman, had seven points, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots.

Roberts scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds, giving the all-tournament performer 49 points and 12 boards in Lipan’s semifinal and title games. Coleman almost had a triple-double against Tatum, recording 15 points, nine rebounds, and nine blocks. Kayla Wheeler had nine points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Michou added three points, six assists, and five rebounds.

Nelson said playing the top two teams in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class A Division II poll will be beneficial for her team down the road.

“It was awesome. Those two teams have been going to the girls state championship. They’re always there. Neches ends up beating them, but they’re there,” Nelson said. “I think it’s good for our girls to play teams like this.”

The teams played to six lead changes in the fourth quarter after a third that ended in a 41-41 tie. Tatum stretched its lead to as many as six points twice earlier in the third, the second time on Smith’s left-wing jumper for a 39-33 advantage with two minutes left in the period. But Wheeler and Coleman answered with three-pointers to tie it 41-41.

Tatum led 12-6 early after a 6-0 turnover-fueled run. Roberts and Michou hit triples to narrow the gap to 16-14 entering the second quarter. Lipan took its first lead on Wheeler’s three, 24-22, with 2 1/2 minutes until halftime. Lipan held a 27-26 lead at the break.

Tenaha Holiday Hoops
Girls Championship

Tatum 55, 1A D-II No. 2 Lipan 50

Special Events Center, Tenaha

Lipan — 14 13 14 9 — 50
Tatum — 16 10 15 14 — 55

Lipan (18-3) — Lanie Roberts 21, Shauna Coleman 15, Kayla Wheeler 9, Rhiana Michou 3,  Tallen Halliday 2.
Tatum (19-2) — Sydni Centers 14, Alexes Bell 13, Amee Smith 10, Kiana Turner 9, Kaylah Starling 7, Daziah Adams 2.

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