By Chris Boothe
LIVINGSTON – To say the Crockett Lady Bulldogs played good defense would be an understatement. The Lady Bulldogs would hold Kountze to just one point in the first quarter on their way to a 36-26 win.
If the defense wasn’t enough, Dea’Junique James was. The junior forward finished Friday’s contest with a game-high 21 points, and was the offensive force behind the Lady Bulldogs.
James, came on strong to start the night, scoring eight of the Lady Bulldogs 10 points in the opening quarter and scored 21 of the Lady Bulldogs 28 points through three quarters. James used her size advantage to push around the smaller Lady Lion defenders, but wasn’t afraid to pull up and knock down a jumper or two.
While the Lady Bulldogs built an early lead, outscoring Kountze 10-1 in the first quarter and held an 18-6 lead at the half, the Lady Lions wouldn’t go down easy. Kountze came out strong in the second half, using their press defense to rattle the Lady Bulldogs, and finally getting some baskets to fall.
Kountze would have their struggles early in the second half, but would be able to cut into the Lady Bulldogs lead after forcing a few turnovers and converting those into baskets. The Lady Lions would actually cut the deficit to eight, but that is the closest as they would get, with Crockett doing enough to pull away for the win.
No other Lady Bulldog would score more than four points in the win, but it wasn’t necessary either. The defensive effort of the Lady Bulldogs was outstanding. Crockett was also able to flex their muscles in the paint, outrebounding Kountze by a healthy margin, including the Lady Lions late run.
To help round out the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs, Tracia Moten and Tynaisha McKnight each scored four points for the Lady Bulldogs with Shelby Curry knocking down a three for her lone basket of the night. Mercedes James and Amaornae Sims each added two points in the win.
The win moves the Lady Bulldogs on to the Regional Quarterfinals, where they will face off against the Woodville Lady Eagles. Woodville punched their ticket to the quarterfinals by taking down Altair Rice 58-33 in the Area Round and trouncing Anderson-Shiro 60-37 in the Bi-District Round.
The winner will move on to the Regional Tournament, where they will face either Teague or Franklin in the Semifinals. That game will be Friday, February 24 at 7:30 pm at Midway High School in Waco.
The Region III Championship will be Saturday, February 25 with a 1:00 pm tip off, also at Midway High School.
For pictures and a complete recap of the Lady Bulldogs quarterfinal showdown against Woodville, check back in Friday’s edition of The Messenger.