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High school basketball: Ladycats fall in Regional Quarterfinals against La Vega

Feb. 23—CORSICANA — The 18th ranked Palestine Ladycats season ended Tuesday night at the hand of sixth-ranked La Vega Lady Pirates, 90-39, on the court of Wolens Special Events Center.

The Ladycats had already crossed one piece of history off their list as they took the floor of the Regional Quarterfinals game for the first time since 2001. Palestine had a chance to advance to the Regional Semifinals for the first time in program history if they could pull out an upset win over the Lady Pirates. Unfortunately, that dream fell short.

An electric crowd had the scene buzzing as you would expect for two sides vying for a state tournament bid. La Vega opened with the first bucket of the game before Ay'Lasia Fantroy shot back with a hard drive that resulted in an and-one from the line. The three-point play gave the Ladycats their first and only lead of the night as a seasoned Lady Pirates team quickly opened the flood gates. They spent the next four minutes of game time composing an 18-2 run. Palestine had been held scoreless for nearly two and a half minutes as La Vega raced out to a 15-point advantage.

Jan'aa Johnson eventually ended the scoring drought for Palestine with a tough finish under the rim. La Vega responded with their fourth three of the quarter as they appeared dialed in from behind the arc. An and-one conversion from Johnson earned Palestine their 10th point of the quarter. Fantroy scored the final bucket of the quarter as the Ladycats stared a sizable 33-12 deficit in the face.

Fantroy remained aggressive to start the second quarter. She took the rock coast-to-coast to open the quarter. However, similar to the opening quarter, Palestine found itself amid a scoring slump that resulted in an 11-1 run from La Vega. Palestine was able to find three final points before half, though their deficit had expanded to 30 at 48-18.

Offensive troubles and turnovers continued to plague Palestine. They endured their lowest scoring output of the game in the third quarter — being held to just five points with four of those coming from Johnson. La Vega continued to apply pressure on offense as they put up a 29-points quarter. Palestine trailed 77-23 entering the final quarter.

Johnson opened with the first seven points of the quarter. Facing an impossible task at a comeback, Palestine continued to battle through. Brianna Price found her first field goal of the game in the fourth, while Jumija Clewis and Fantroy concluded the quarter with back-to-back threes.

Johnson finished with a team-high of 19 points and three rebounds. Fantroy put up 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocks to round out her stat line. Clewis and Price finished with three points. The Ladycats finished 34-5 on the season as they look to return this year's Regional Quarterfinals team next year in its entirety. La Vega advanced to the Regional Semifinals for a 2021 playoff rematch against Hardin-Jefferson.