COMMERCE -- Twelve months ago, the basketball season was a distant memory for Gilmer, having failed to qualify for the postseason. Not only did Gilmer resurrect its program this season, but the Lady Buckeyes advanced to the regional tournament for the first time since 1989.

And even though the final chapter ended with a 61-32 loss to defending regional champion and third-ranked Argyle in their Class 4A Region II semifinal Friday night at Texas A&M-Commerce's Field House, there will be no raining on the Lady Buckeyes' parade.

Argyle's Madison Ralston pulls up for a jump shot during the Lady Eagles' 61-32 win over Gilmer in their Class 4A Region II semifinal Friday night in Commerce. (Mark Martin,

"I don't care how it ended," said Gilmer coach Mandi Simpson. "We didn't make the playoffs last year, and getting this far for us was a very good start to building our program."

Gilmer (24-9) will lose five seniors to graduation, but Simpson said the future is bright.

"We have nine Little Dribblers teams this year (in Gilmer) and they're at home wearing our playoff (T-shirts) and excited about it," she said. "It's just a good experience for our little ones all the way up to our juniors who are going to be coming back next year. Now they know what it's like to be at the top, and they know how far you've got to go to go further. They know how far they are away from the real deal."

Argyle (29-5) will face Celina (32-4) in Saturday afternoon's regional title game for the second consecutive season. The Lady Eagles should be plenty rested for the noon tipoff, as Argyle coach Skip Townsend pulled his starters off the floor with his team up big midway through the third quarter.

The Lady Eagles were led by 6-1 sophomore forward Vivian Gray, who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Fellow sophomore forward Madison Ralston added 10 points, four boards and two assists.

Gilmer's Jameekia Homer (30) goes up for a shot during the Lady Buckeyes' 61-32 loss to Argyle in their Class 4A Region II semifinal Friday night in Commerce. (Mark Martin,

"We were out of our league tonight, meaning all but two out of the 15 (Argyle) had on the bench don't play any other sport; every one of them play basketball year-round," Simpson said. "At Gilmer we're so small, everybody plays every sport, so our kids are spread thin."

The Lady Buckeyes, who did not register their first field goal in the game until the final seconds of the opening quarter, struggled offensively throughout.

Senior 6-3 post Jameekia Homer led the way with 16 points, but Argyle's defense made it difficult for the Lady Buckeyes' perimeter players to dish the ball inside for most of the night.

"They played man-to-man defense, but they converge," Simpson said of Argyle. "Everybody gets all the way to the midline on help side, so it is hard to get it in the paint. Finally, Jameekia started holding her ground and finally got some guards that could see it. And she had a good game."

Argyle costed to a 15-3 lead after the first quarter, then used a 16-4 run in the second period to build a 31-7 advantage with 2:28 remaining until halftime. The Lady Eagles stretched the lead 30 points -- 43-13 -- with 4:10 to play in the third, prompting Townsend to rest his starters the rest of the way.

Gilmer coach Mandi Simpson paces the sideline during her team's 61-32 loss to Argyle in their Class 4A Region II semifinal Friday night in Commerce. (Mark Martin,

No. 3 Argyle 61, Gilmer 32

Girls Class 4A Region II Semifinal
At Texas A&M-Commerce's Field House

Argyle                   15    18    14    14    --    61
Gilmer                     3      8      7    14    --    32
ARGYLE (29-5) -- Vivian Gray, 17; Madison Ralston, 10; Jessie Sheridan, 8; Brittany Hamilton, 6; Claire Betzhold, 5; Jocelyn Pierce, 4; Delaney Sain, 4; Kayla Haynes, 3; Olivia Gray, 2; Madison Stapleton, 2.
GILMER (24-9) -- Jameekia Homer, 16; Christian Brown, 7; Erica Wesley, 5; Tyler Criddle, 2; Destiny Brooks, 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Argyle: Haynes, Sheridan. Gilmer: Brown.