Tyler Lee, Tenaha Girls Advance to Area Round on Monday
CUSHING -- Ja'Kayla Bowie dribbled around defenders with ease as the remaining 40 seconds ticked off the clock.
Bowie held her hand high in a fist as the buzzer sounded. Teammates vacated the bench to join her on the court in celebration. Tyler Lee defeated Lufkin, 52-35 on Monday to advance to the area round.
Bowie, a Texas State commit, did not shy away from the big stage. She accounted for 28 points -- more than half of the Lady Raiders' final score. She also pulled down five rebounds and added two steals.
"She's a heck of basketball player," coach Ross Barber said. "That's why she's going Division I. She is very talented and a very smart basketball player. When she was getting a lot of her looks, we were going inside to the post because they were concerned about them, and then we're kicking it out to her and she's shooting a wide-open 3. That's pretty efficient offense. When she's getting looks like that and making them, everything else flows for her."
Bowie made three 3-pointers on the evening.
Although Tyler Lee was took control in the second half, it came out sluggish in the first. Outside of Bowie, there was little offense for the Lady Raiders. That, combined with a hot shooting performance from Lufkin's Mycah McDonald, caused Tyler Lee to enter halftime with just a 25-21 advantage.
Adjustments made at halftime provided a big spark for the Lady Raiders. By the third quarter, they had built a double-digit lead.
"I think in the beginning of the game we had a little jitters," Barber said. "First play of the game, we have a layup missed. At halftime, we just challenged the intensity and picking it up on the defensive end of the floor. We allowed 21 points in the first half and midway through the fourth, they are sitting at 30. We chart kills, which is three stops in a row, and I would guarantee we probably had four or five of those in the second half, which really turned the game for us."
Although the Lady Raiders endured some foul trouble throughout the game, they got the help they needed off the bench.
Jazmin Coleman was called upon after her teammates got into foul trouble and delivered in a big way. She finished with six points, six rebounds and two steals. At one point in the third quarter, she came down with three offensive boards in a row to allow Tyler Lee to score. It was a momentum shift that Barber didn't take for granted.
"When we needed a spark, she's provided it off the bench," he said. "That was a huge boost for our team. You saw everybody's reaction when she got those boards and we needed up scoring on that possession. They called a timeout. It was a frenzy. That brought the energy for us, reestablished us and we were able to go on a roll from there."
McDonald led Lufkin in scoring with 16 points. Kurstyn Harden was next with 11 points and five rebounds. Hannah Haynes had five assists for Tyler Lee.
Next up, the Lady Raiders will face No. 5 Richardson in the area round on Friday. Barber said he hopes his team can carry over its mentality from the second half of Monday's game into that one.
"It's going to start on the defensive end for us just like everything does," he said. "Second half, you saw some pretty dang good defense. We're gonna have to be that same way Friday. We've got to play every possession as hard as we can. We can't have let down possessions."
Tenaha Coasts to Victory Against Alto
CUSHING -- Tenaha left no question on Monday.
The Lady Tigers didn't give up a field goal until the third quarter. They also saw nearly every player that got minutes score in a dominant 56-11 victory against Alto.
"I was pleased with the effort," coach Garry Davison said. "I thought we showed up with intensity and took it to them. When you're the one seed playing against the four seed, you need to impose your will early so they don;t think they can hang around. I thought we did that. You look up and we're up 20 points pretty quick and then we can just relax a little bit."
Tenaha certainly pounced early. It held a 37-3 lead at halftime. The Lady Tigers let off the gas a bit, allowing eight points in the third quarter, but followed that up by holding Alto scoreless in the fourth.
The intense defensive pressure from Tenaha forced 28 turnovers. It seemed each time an Alto player turned around, it was into a double team. Davison said it's a trademark for the program.
"We love to create offense with our defense and we love to play fast," he said. "We got turnovers, so were were able to get out in the open floor and play and it made a big difference. That's how we like to play. We don't play the half court game."
Bianca Davison got things going in the first half. She finished with 12 points, all of which were scored in the first off of 3-pointers. She tied with Alicia Roland for the lead in points. Roland also pulled down five rebounds to share the team lead with Calicia Roland and Jaden Washington.
The Lady Tigers got to work with a variety of lineups and saw all but one player score. Garry Davison said there is value in getting his bench players playoff minutes, and hopes it will help the team later on.
"It gets them ready for the playoffs," he said. "The really tough games, they haven't played a whole lot of minutes. Getting them in a playoff game and they get to play maybe half the game, that's huge for those kids. Now they're like, 'OK, so we're gonna get to play. If we play well, he'll keep us in there.' I thought it was very beneficial."
Tenaha advances to the area round, where it will face either Broaddus or West Hardin.