Lady Mustangs 45 Lady Cougars 38
By Will Johnson
MADISONVILLE – After back-to-back trips to the Class 1A UIL State Tournament, expectations for the Slocum Lady Mustangs’ basketball team were high coming into this season. Graduation, injuries, a move to Class 2A along with a host of other factors, however, rocked the Lady Mustangs who found themselves in danger of not making the postseason.
Slocum wound up tied for fourth place with the Leon Lady Cougars in District 20-2A when the regular season ended which forced a win or go home play-in game against Leon on Friday, Feb. 8.
The contest was held on a neutral court in Madisonville and for three quarters, the game was up for grabs. A strong fourth quarter from the Lady Mustangs, however, propelled the Lady Mustangs past the Lady Cougars with a 45-38 win and into the Bi-District round of the playoffs.
The two teams played evenly through most of the first quarter as the Lady Mustangs managed to take a two-point lead after the first eight minutes of play. Gina Lively paced Slocum with six points while Laney Lasiter knocked down a three. Jalyn Fletcher and Jaidan Wickersham both had two as Slocum led by a score of 13-11 after one.
The Lady Cougars were led by Tara Goolsby with six first quarter points while Tori Salley connected from behind the arc and Kellie Copeland added two.
The next three quarters turned into a free throw festival as the Lady Mustangs went to the line 26 times while the Lady Cougars found themselves at the charity stripe 25 times.
Leon outscored Slocum in the second quarter 12-11, but only converted six of 12 from the charity stripe. Sarah Grace Merry had five while Lori Pervis and Maddie Thomas both hit a three. Goolsby made two of two from the line to close out the Leon first half point production.
For Slocum, Lively hit her second three of the game while Lasiter and Wickersham both had two from the field. Libby Kessel and Gabbie Skelton were both two-for-two from the line as the Lady Mustangs took a 24-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The two teams played to a stalemate in the third quarter as both squads scored nine. Merry scored six while Sarah Rains added two and Raelyn Theiss made one of two from the line.
Courtney January paced Slocum in the third quarter as she poured in seven points while Laney Lasiter converted a pair of free throws to help give the Lady Mustangs a 33-32 lead with eight minutes left to play.
The reason coaches stress the fundamentals of the game is because fundamentals win games. The Lady Cougars free throw shooting proved to be their downfall as they only hit 14 of 25 from the line. Slocum, on the other hand, knocked down 21 of 26 – a difference of seven points.
Leon’s fourth quarter points came from Rains with six on a three and three of six from the line.
Slocum’s points all came from the free throw line as they hit 12 of 17. Fletcher hit six and January had four. Lasiter and Skelton both chipped in one as Slocum won a final of 45-38, a seven-point difference.
On the game, Sarah Grace Merry led the Lady Cougars with 10 points. Tara Goolsby and Sarah Rains both had eight while Lori Pervis and Maddie Thomas had three apiece. Kellie Copeland added two and Raelyn Theiss had one to round out the Leon scoring.
The Lady Mustangs were paced by Courtney January with 11. Gina Lively dropped in nine while both Jalyn Fletcher and Laney Lasiter knocked down eight. Jaidan Wickersham added four, Gabbie Skelton had three and Libby Kessel was two-for two from the line.
The win sent the Slocum Lady Mustangs into a Bi-District match-up with the Kerens Lady Bobcats while the loss brought the Lady Cougars’ season to an end.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.