The first year for girls teams to play in Canyon’s Tatum Tough Tournament ended in such entertaining and competitive fashion that it’s a shame it hadn’t already taken place.
For local girls basketball aficionados, it will be hard to beat what took place in Joe Lombard Gymnasium between Canyon and Tascosa in the tournament championship Thursday afternoon. It also may have shaken up some preconceptions about exactly who’s the best metro girls team.
In a game which felt more like a playoff game than a tournament final between schools in different classifications, Canyon and Tascosa fought tooth and nail in a game which needed an extra period to decide. Offense was at a premium, as Tascosa survived a rugged overtime to pull out a rare 48-46 win at Canyon’s home gym.
That in and of itself was a rare feat for the Lady Rebels (18-3), who are ranked No. 12 in Class 5A. It also may have sent a statement to Tascosa’s crosstown rival, No. 2 Amarillo High, that a District 3-5A title won’t be a cakewalk.
“It’s a big win, there’s no getting around that,” said Tascosa first-year coach Chris Sumrall, who took over the Lady Rebels after a successful tenure at Class 2A Wellington. “To do it here against a great team, I’m really pleased with our kids and what it means for us.”
It was a significant win from the standpoint that few teams come into Canyon and leave with a win over the Lady Eagles (15-3), who seem to lose at home literally once in a blue moon. And it wasn’t easy for either team, as nobody led by any more than four points after halftime.
The Lady Rebels showed they weren’t intimidated by Canyon, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, by taking an 11-2 lead in the first quarter. That was the biggest lead for either team.
Canyon rallied two twice take a one-point lead in the second quarter, which pretty much cast the die for the remainder of the game, as Tascosa led 21-19 at halftime.
“I told them at the half this was going down to the wire,” Sumrall said. “I was hoping not to go to overtime. I don’t think Canyon loses many at home. To get a win here at their place and their tournament is a special moment for sure.”
It looked as if the Lady Eagles were going to pull out another one at home, as with 1:24 left in regulation, Ta’Leeyah Glynn hit a 3-pointer to give them a 41-38 lead, their biggest advantage of the game. But the Lady Rebels refused to wilt.
Tascosa’s Aniyah Brackens scored on a drive to the basket with 48 seconds left to cut it to 41-40, then Avery Carter, who led Tascosa with 14 points and was named tournament MVP, scored on a 3-point play with 28 seconds left to give the Lady Rebels a 43-41 lead.
However, Canyon tied the game at 43 as Glynn made a pair of free throws, eventually resulting in overtime.
“They’re a very physical, great defensive team and coach Sumrall does a fantastic job,” Canyon coach Tate Lombard said. “I was proud of the way our kids fought. It was a game of runs and ups and downs and I thought we battled really hard. I thought we learned a lot about our team, but I wish we’d made a couple of plays to win it.”
Carter scored to open the overtime for Tascosa and Sydnee Winfrey answered with a basket for Canyon to tie it. But when Tascosa’s Za’Miyah Dickson scored on a layup to make it 47-45, the Lady Rebels led the rest of the way.
Dickson and Canyon’s Jaylee Moss, who had a game-high 16 points, each hit one of two free throws. The Lady Eagles had a chance to tie or win it on the last possession, but their shots were off the mark.
Tascosa 16 21 31 43 48
Canyon 9 19 27 43 46
T – Avery Carter 14, Aniyah Brackens 13. C – Jaylee Moss 16, Ta’Leeyah Glynn 10. Records: Tascosa 18-3; Canyon 15-3.