TSB Community Contributor
McKinney Christian Academy is preparing to meet Lubbock Christian School on Tuesday night in Abilene for the TAPPS Girls Basketball State Quarterfinals. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at McMurry University.
Welcome to the Elite Eight.
The Lady Mustangs (23-6) defeated Bullock Brook Hill 56-33 in the Area Round on Friday night to advance to the round of eight. They have won 13 games in a row and 14 of their last 15. This also marks the seventh time MCA’s girls have made the regional finals in the 10-year history of its varsity program.
“They continue to come up big when they need to, and not back down,” MCA coach Lee Brock said. “That is the spirit of a champion.”
Lubbock Christian was a surprise 50-45 winner over number No. 1-ranked Lake Country Christian School of Fort Worth in the Area Round. The Mustangs had been preparing all year for a rematch with Lake Country, who knocked them out in the area round last year. But it was not to be. The upset was not entirely unexpected, however, Lubbock Christian was the No. 2 seed out of tough district 1-3A, the home of numerous state championship banners.
In addition, MCA was ranked No. 4 in TAPPS 3-A by TABCHoops in the season’s final poll. But the No. 1-ranked team was upset and only Austin Brentwood and Round Rock remain ahead of the Lady Mustangs among those alive in the playoffs.
District 4’s own Dallas Lutheran is also one of the eight teams alive. Lutheran matches up with defending state champion Amarillo San Jacinto of District 1 on Tuesday night at Vernon High School.
Lady Mustangs Roll Past Brook Hill
They say that the third time is the charm, that you can’t do three on a match and that it is hard to beat a team three times, but the Lady Mustangs would have none of old superstitions and cliches. Playing a strong Brook Hill Lady Guard team with their imposing 6-foot-3 center, Samantha Anderson, the Mustangs took control early with a tenacious defense and survived a brief third quarter rally.
Freshman Hannah Wilks got the Mustangs going with an early putback for a 2-0 lead, but Anderson answered immediately picking up a loose ball against the press for an easy layup. Julie James hit a three from the right side and Kaitlynn McAdams hit one from the left and it was 8-2 Mustangs.
Sarah Grubbs hit a 15-footer, but Anderson and Brook Hill’s Senior guard, Allysa Eden, scored back to back and the Guard was back in it at 10-6. The Mustangs’ Sidney Thompson then corralled a James miss for a putback and a 12-6 Mustang lead after one.
Anderson then made one of two free throws to open the second, but the Guard would not score again until the halftime buzzer as MCA built a 24-7 lead behind a balanced attack. With the Guard defense set up to stop McAdams who had torched them on the previous two encounters this year, the rest of the Mustang starters took up the slack. Wilks and Thompson would score four more each and Grubbs and James added buckets as the Mustangs pulled away. The only negatives at that point were some early fouls on the Mustangs’ frontline of McAdams, Thompson and Wilks, who had two each. There was also poor execution on a last shot of the half play that resulted in a moving screen foul on the Mustangs and a buzzer-beater by Charlie Niles of the Guard for a 24-9 Mustang lead.
When the Lady Guard’s Eden opened the second half with a floater in the lane and Morgan Moss bombed a three-pointer from the top it was seven straight for Brook Hill, and people in Navy and Gold were beginning to wonder if the momentum had switched.
Thompson then picked up her third foul early after the half and was forced to the bench and replaced by Makenna Schulte. When McAdams quickly picked up her third on a drive by Eden, who converted both freebies, the Mustang’s 17-point lead was trimmed to eight at 24-16.
These Mustangs do not scare easily, however, and for each mini run the Guard put forth the Mustangs had an answer. Wilks scored another putback, Grubbs got a steal from Moss and hit James for a layup, Schulte scored on a putback and the Mustangs were starting to roll. In both previous victories over the Guard, the Mustangs had big third quarters and this was no exception. By the time James reciprocated to Grubbs for a back side layup the Mustangs had scored 18 points and had re-established their lead entering the 4th at 42-24.
Wilks led the Mustangs in scoring with 19 points and added five rebounds and two blocks. James followed with 14 points and 6 assists. Grubbs had one of her best all around games with 10 points, six assists and four rebounds. Thompson finished with six points and McAdams the Mustangs leading scorer added five in a quiet offensive night.
McAdams, who had the unenviable task of guarding Anderson in the paint and giving away at least 5 inches, led the Mustangs in other ways. She held Anderson in check with 14 points and led the Mustangs in rebounds with eight while doling out three assists and erasing two Guard shots. Schulte closed with two points and two rebounds and did a nice job on Anderson in her time on the floor.