Four teams move on to area round in girls basketball playoffs

Feb. 14—Four area girls basketball teams will move forward to the area round of playoffs, keeping their championship aspirations alive and well for at least one more game.

The Grapeland Sandiettes had quite possibly the hardest first round draw in East Texas, and fell to the high powered Martins Mill Lady Mustangs 71-27 on Monday night. After a slow start to the season, Grapeland finished the year with a 12-15 record, and can hold their heads high for a well played season.

The same can be said for the Oakwood Lady Panthers, who saw their season slip away from their grasp on Tuesday night, losing a heartbreaker to the Jonesboro Lady Eagles, 42-34. Oakwood led at halftime 25-18, but big third and fourth quarter runs for the Lady Eagles fueled a comeback win for Jonesboro, ending Oakwood's season with a 13-8 overall record.

Palestine LadyCats

The Palestine LadyCats will be moving on to the second round of the playoffs, knocking off the District 17 top seed Center Lady Roughriders 71-58 on Monday night.

LadyCats Head Coach Daniel Nichols had his team come out in a 2-3 zone, eliminating Center's star center, Edneeuna Barnes. Barnes would turn in a 27 point performance for the Lady Roughriders, but only scored seven in the opening half, giving Palestine plenty of time to build a comfortable lead.

Freshman guard Sydney Hughes once again came up big for her LadyCats, dropping in a team-leading 22 points in her first playoff appearance. Hughes also benefited from the stellar play of the LadyCats two seniors, Brianna Price and Ja'Yanna Johnson, who combined to score 31 points in the win.

The LadyCats will square off with the Liberty Lady Panthers in the area round. Liberty has posted a 27-8 record so far this year, and defeated the Bridge City Lady Cardinals 40-22 in the bi-district round. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Feb 16, at Lufkin high school in Lufkin.

Frankston Maidens

The Frankston Maidens prevailed against a great girls sports program on Tuesday, knocking the Leon out of the playoffs with a 50-40 slobber-knocker victory over the Lady Cougars .

The Maidens and Lady Cougars played an immensely physical basketball game in the opening round, with sounds of knees and elbows hitting the hardwood echoing throughout Mustang Gym in Slocum.

Junior guard Willa Davis ended up on the receiving end of some of the rough play, and was knocked out of the contest in the second quarter, but would come back late in the third, and led her team to the impressive win. Davis ended her night with 10 points, leading the Maidens in scoring, with senior Kaylee Davis following right behind with nine.

The Maidens will see the 20-8 Marlin Lady Bulldogs in the second round, who are coming off a narrow win over the Bosqueville Lady Bulldogs, 43-36. The area round matchup is set to be played at 6 p.m. this Friday, Feb 16, at the K. & Ida Wolens Special Events Center at Navarro College in Corsicana.

Slocum Lady Mustangs

The Lady Mustangs were one of two area teams from 1A District 27 to score blowout first round victories, as Slocum dismantled the Spurger Lady Pirates 55-17 Monday night.

After a slow start to the season, posting a 3-5 record through their first eight games, the Lady Mustangs found their stride in the second month of the season, and finished the regular season with a 19-12 overall record, and finished second in the district standings.

Lexi Bennett and Addison Lindsey would share the top scoring honors for the Lady Mustangs in the win over Spurger, dropping in 12 apiece, with Claire Bailey contributing eight to the cause.

The Lady Mustangs will have a tough opponent in the area round, as they will face off with the 17-4 Milford Bulldogs Friday. Slocum and Milford will fight for the area round championship starting at 6 p.m., Feb 16, at the Cross Roads high school basketball gym, located behind the Cross Roads football stadium.

Neches Lady Tigers

The Neches Lady Tigers also did 1A District 27 proud in the opening round of the playoffs, earning a decisive 44-8 victory over the Chester Lady Yellowjackets.

The Neches Lady Tigers once again look to be a serious contender in championship discussions, as their 25-7 overall record currently has them sitting as the 16th ranked 1A program in the state. Neches is no stranger to the spotlight, winning five girls basketball state championships in the school's history, and just this year quantifying for their fifth volleyball state tournament.

The Lady Tigers will look to continue their winning ways this Friday, as they will move on to the area round to face the Jonesboro Lady Eagles, who ended the Oakwood Lady Panthers season on Tuesday. The Lady Tigers and Eagles will meet at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb 16, at Frost high school in Frost.