Slocum Lady Mustangs Return to State
By Will Johnson
AUSTIN – The Slocum Lady Mustangs returned to the Regional Tournament for the second year in a row and for the second year in a row they faced the Nueces Canyon Lady Cougars In the semifinal round and for the second year in a row, the Lady Mustangs took care of business with an 84-46 thrashing of the Lady Cougars.
Following their 38 point victory and also for the second consecutive year, the Moulton Lady Bobkatz were waiting to greet the Lady Mustangs in the Regional Finals. Last year, Slocum breezed into the state tournament with a 65-44 win over Moulton.
While last year’s victory appeared to give the Lady Mustangs a confidence boost, the Lady Bobkatz had this date circled on their calendar since the end of last season and played like it throughout the game.
The Lady Mustangs, however, are a gritty team with a ton of experience. And while the Lady Bobkatz only trailed by one point after three periods of play, Head Coach Dustin Bates didn’t allow the Moulton team to rattle his squad as they hung on to win by a final score of 53-45.
The game started with the Lady Mustangs jumping out to an early 15-9 lead after the first eight minutes of play. Jessi Ives led the way for Slocum with seven first quarter points. Shelby Bowman added a pair of buckets from behind the arc and Taylor Clark dropped in a pair of free throws to round out the Slocum scoring.
Moulton was led by Malori Mitchon with five while Erin Blaschke and Rayvin Kalisek both had two.
The second quarter saw the Lady Mustangs increase their lead to eight as the two teams headed into halftime. Ives had six for Slocum while Bowman hit her third three-ball of the game. Briley Evers got into the act with a three-pointer of her own and Laney Lasiter had two.
Blaschke paced the Lady Bobkatz with six second quarter points while Kalisek, Mitchon and Lilee Jahn all chipped in two which brought the score to 29-21. at the break.
Following halftime, Moulton’s defense played lights out and limited Slocum to five third quarter points on twos from Jalyn Fletcher and Jaidan Wickersham while Ives converted one of two from the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, the Bobkatz also picked up their offensive tempo, scored 12 points and cut the Slocum lead to 34-33. Kalisek had five for Moulton, Blaschke had three and both MItchon along with Baily Bohuslav went for two.
With eight minutes standing between Slocum and a return trip to San Antonio, the Lady Mustangs stepped up their game. Ives knocked down eight while Clark and Fletcher both had four apiece. Gina Lively hit a pair of free throws and Briley Evers also hit one of two from the line as the Lady Mustangs held on to win 53-45.
Mitchon led the Lady Bobkatz in the final quarter with nine while Kalisek dropped in two and Blaschke added one.
For the game, Moulton was led by Malori Mitchon with 18 points while Erin Blaschke and 12. Rayvin Kalisek dropped in 11 while Baily Bohuslav and Lilee Jahn both had two.
The Lady Mustangs were led by Jessi Ives with 22 points and Shelby Bowman with nine. Taylor Clark and Jalyn Fletcher both dropped in six while Briley Evers had four. Three other Lady Mustangs – Laney Lasiter, Gina Lively and Jaidan Wickersham – all had two to round out the Slocum point production.
The win moves the Lady Mustangs into the UIL Class 1A State Tournament in San Antonio where they are scheduled to play the Dodd City Lady Hornets.
The Lady Hornets were state runners-up last year and sport a record of 36-1. Slocum and Dodd City are joined in the Final Four by the 2016-2017 State Champion Nazareth Swiftettes and the Hermleigh Lady Cardinals.
Slocum and Dodd City tip-off at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 1 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, per the UIL website.
PHOTOS by STEPHANIE LIMERICK
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.