Amarillo High, Tascosa girls advance to Class 5A regional quarterfinals


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The Amarillo High Lady Sandies hoist the gold ball after defeating El Paso Andress on Thursday night in Andrews. [Michael Bauer/ Press Pass Sports]
ANDREWS- The Amarillo High girls basketball team had little to no trouble in taking the Class 5A area round against El Paso Andress getting a convincing 77-42 Thursday night at the Mustang Arena.

With the win, the Lady Sandies advance to the regional quarterfinals and improve to 32-4 to await Friday’s winner of El Paso Burgess and No. 1-ranked Lubbock Monterey. The Eagles’ season ended at 21-14.

“I loved how we executed offensively,” Amarillo High head coach Jeff Williams said. “I think we can be a whole lot better in transition than what we were but offensively, we executed better tonight. That’s the thing that stood out for me. We’re a better defensive team than what we showed tonight but beggars can’t be choosers. We’ll get after it and play a very quality team in the next round.”

The Lady Sandies were led in scoring by Mckenzie Smith who had 28 points while Taytum Bell had 10. Lacey Rice scored eight while Payton Daniels had six.

“I really thought Mckenzie Smith was incredibly good,” Williams said. “But she wasn’t the only one. Taytum Bell had a great game. Jada came out in the third quarter because she was about to throw up. Getting this game in on a Thursday and give our players an extra day to make sure they’re feeling better will be good. I’m really proud of the way we played tonight. We’re always excited when we can win a gold ball.”

The Eagles were led in scoring by Leslie Mojica who had 21 points. Allenae Martin-Lewis had 13 points while Jordan Arellano scored three.

“I wish we could’ve defended their shooter better, Leslie Mojica, but other than that, I thought we executed well,” Williams said.

Both teams traded baskets to start the game before Amarillo High took a comfortable 21-14 lead. The Lady Sandies’ lead was 23-14 to end the first quarter.

Bell scored a layup to begin the second quarter for Amarillo High and her teammate Smith added another basket soon after to keep the Lady Sandies in control. It was part of an 8-3 run to begin the quarter by Amarillo High. Smith scored another inside bucket and Amarillo High had a 29-17 lead with 5:05 on the clock. Daniels’ inside jumper made it 33-18 with 2:26 before the half. Mojica drained a 3-pointer for Andress soon after but it did little to deter Amarillo High’s run. The Lady Sandies’ lead was 39-24 at the half. Barrera’s turnaround jumper gave Amarillo High a 45-27 lead early in the third quarter.

It wasn’t long before the Lady Sandies had a 20-point advantage with under a minute to go in the quarter. Smith’s layup made it a 22-point lead shortly after before Bell added to her team’s advantage. The third ended with Amarillo High firmly in control, 58-32. Mitchell scored off the transition to give the Lady Sandies a 65-34 lead in the fourth quarter. Smith added a 3-pointer soon after for a 70-36 advantage. There was very little stopping Amarillo High in the fourth quarter as the Lady Sandies were not to be denied and clinched a spot in the next round of the playoffs.

While the Lady Sandies await their next opponent, Williams said playing this round on a Thursday will give his team an extra day to prepare.

“It is beneficial because we can get in a workout on Friday,” Williams said. “We’re out of school on Friday so we’re able to do some things with our workout where we’re not out as late. We’ll have a Friday evening off and come back Saturday to work out again. We’ll get off their legs a little bit and not have to grind as much.”
El Paso Andress    14  30  38  42
Amarillo High       23  39  58  77
EPA- Leslie Mojica 21, Allenae Martin-Lewis 13. AHS- Mckenzie Smith 28, Taytum Bell 10. Records: El Paso Andress 21-14; Amarillo High

Tascosa’s Avery Carter drives to the basket against El Paso Bel Air in Andrews on Thursday night. [Michael Bauer/ Press Pass Sports]

Tascosa downs El Paso Bel Air

ANDREWS- The Tascosa girls basketball team claimed a spot in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals after knocking off the El Paso Bel Air Highlanders 47-39 in an area round contest at the Mustang Arena on Thursday.

With the victory, the Lady Rebels moved to 26-5 overall while Bel Air’s season ended at 23-7. Tascosa will now get the winner between Friday’s Lubbock-Cooper and El Paso Chapin game.

“It’s good to get a win, especially when you don’t play as well as we are capable of playing,” Tascosa head coach Chris Sumrall said. “Give Bel Air some credit, they played pretty well, defensively.”

The victory brought an end to the Highlanders’ 18-game winning streak. The Lady Rebels started the game on a promising note, going on a 12-0 run in the first quarter. Tascosa would keep Bel Air scoreless after the quarter.

“It set the tone, defensively for us,” Sumrall said. “We were fine on defense for most of the night. We had a couple of possessions that broke down but for the most part, I thought we were fine. We need to be a little better on offense.”

The Lady Rebels were led in scoring by Lakenzee Dickson who had 12 points. Daizjia Oages had 11 while Avery Carter finished with eight and Devaeh Johnson scored seven. For the Highlanders, it was Victoria Moreno who carried them, scoring 21 points.

“She’s a good player,” Sumrall said of Moreno. “We knew that coming in. We had to guard her and try to keep the ball out of her hands. She’s a good player and played well tonight.”

Christine Avila had 10 and Ruby Levario scored seven for Bel Air.

Carter began the second quarter with a deuce, but Bel Air managed to get on the board a few seconds later aver Victoria Moreno drew a foul while making an inside basket. She made the free throw to complete the three-point play. It was Moreno who scored the first 10 points for Bel Air.

However, the Lady Rebels continued to push forward, and they had a 17-6 lead with 4:58 left before the half. Both teams would hit a scoring drought before Za’miyah Dickson was sent to the line, going 1-2 to bring Tascosa’s lead to 18-6. Another Moreno basket saw her bring Bel Air to a 10-point deficit. A put-back by Moreno shortened her team’s deficit to eight points with under a minute to play before the half. Aniyah Brackens sank two free throws shortly after and the Lady Rebels had another 10-point advantage.

A technical foul on Za’miyah Dickson sent Christine Avila to the line with 26.1 seconds before halftime where she made one of two baskets. Tascosa’s lead was 20-11 at the break. Both teams traded baskets to start the third quarter. Moreno’s consecutive baskets cut the Lady Rebel’s lead to six with 6:04 remaining. Tascosa responded with a 4-0 run, capped by a put-back from Oages to make it 27-17 with 3:14 on the clock.

The Lady Rebels continued to make their baskets and Oages had another put-back, giving Tascosa a 32-20 advantage. The Lady Rebels’ lead was 34-22 heading into the fourth.

Tascosa would gradually pull away, going on an 8-3 run. The Highlanders, however, didn’t quite go away and Moreno made it a 10-point game with her inside basket with just under two minutes to go. It wasn’t long until Bel Air made it a five-point game with 30.9 seconds remaining. But it wouldn’t be enough and Tascosa punched its ticket to the next round.

“We got to continue to improve and get better,” Sumrall said.
El Paso Bel Air      0 11 22  39
Tascosa             12  20  34  47
EPB- Victoria Moreno 21, Christine Avila 10. T- Lakenzee Dickson 12,  Daizjia Oages 11. Records: El Paso Bel Air 23-7; Tasosa 26-5.

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