Canyon’s Taylor Thomas (32) shoots a jumper over Levelland defenders during a Class 4A regional quarterfinal matchup in Plainview on Wednesday night. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]
Canyon stifles Levelland
Plainview— On paper, it was a Class 4A regional quarterfinal matchup that had it all.
It was battle of top 10 teams who had a combined record of 52-1.
Canyon came in ranked No. 2 in the state, while unbeaten Levelland entered at No. 6.
But that was on paper. In reality, it was a one-sided show as Canyon shook off a slow shooting start, and played tremendous lockdown defense flexing its muscle for a 49-24 blowout win in front of an exuberant crowd at the Bulldogs Gym.
Canyon (27-1 overall) advances to the regional semifinals for a 15th straight year, and will now await the winner of Thursday’s Krum-Glen Rose game. The Loboettes suffer their only loss of the year, ending a terrific campaign at 26-1.
“We’ve really prepared the last two weeks for Levelland,” Canyon head coach Tate Lombard said. “That really helped us. It just took us a bit to get going. I think we haven’t been in a big game in a few weeks, and I thought the girls really responded to being in a tough environment.”
Neither team shot it well from the floor in the first half as the Lady Eagles took a 21-13 lead into halftime.
Midway into the midway third quarter the shooting woes continued until junior guard Taylor Thomas provided Canyon with a huge spark. Thomas made a put back off a rebound giving the Lady Eagles a 30-18 lead. Moments later down the floor, Thomas setup on the wing and drained a 3-pointer that gave Canyon a 33-18 advantage as they started to roll from that point forward.
“We made some adjustments,” Lombard said. “We did a good job of adjusting in the second half, and started knocking down shots. It just took one shot, and a run to get us going. We weren’t scoring real easy. Once we made buckets on a couple of possessions that helped us break it open.”
One part of Canyon’s game that never wavered was on the defensive end. The Lady Eagles turned up the pressure frustrating Levelland throughout the contest. Levelland mustered only five points in the third quarter, and 11 points the entire second half.
“We don’t want to give up anything,” Canyon senior forward Kenadee Winfrey said. “We know that defense wins championships, and if we don’t play good defense we won’t win.”
Thomas and Winfrey led Canyon scoring a game-high 12 points a piece. Emma Kent had nine to pace Levelland.
Canyon 8 21 33 49
Levelland 4 13 18 24
C— Kennadee Winfrey 12, Taylor Thomas 12. L— Emma Kent 9, Michaela Watkins 4. Records: Canyon 27-1; Levelland 26-1.
Tascosa falls to Plainview
Befitting a rematch between teams who split their District 3-5A games this season, Wednesday night’s region quarterfinal between the Tascosa and Plainview girls at Canyon’s Joe Lombard Gymnasium was predictably tight the entire way.
But a valiant effort couldn’t prevent Tascosa’s season from ending.
In a game where neither team held a double-digit advantage, Plainview clung to a small lead most of the game to hold off the Lady Rebels 69-63 and advance to the region semifinals. Tascosa finished the season 15-13.
The rubber match was every bit as competitive as would be expected. Tascosa held an 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, Plainview (19-8) took control in the second quarter and led 37-31 at halftime.
Plainview had the biggest lead of the game, nine points, in the third quarter, as Kylie Bennett hit four 3-pointers. But D’Keira Johnson kept the Lady Rebels in the game, scoring eight points in the quarter as the Lady Bulldogs led 56-53 at the end of the quarter.
Tascosa briefly led by a point in the fourth quarter, but Plainview reclaimed the lead and put the game away by making 9 of 11 free throws.
Johnson led the Lady Rebels with 17 points while Avery Carter had 14 and Aninaeh Brackens added 12. Plainview’s Majik Esquivel had a game-high 22 points while Katy Long scored 18 and Bennett had 15.
— Lee Passmore
Tascosa 18 31 53 63
Plainview 17 37 56 69
T— D’Keira Johnson17, Avery Carter 14, Aninaeh Brackens 12. P— Majik Esquivel 22, Katy Long 18, Kylie Bennett 15. Records: Tascosa 15-13; Plainview 19-8.
Boys area roundup
Amarillo High wins, Palo Duro’s season comes to an end
The Amarillo High and Palo Duro boys fell one game short of a postseason rematch after splitting their two games in District 3-5A play thanks to opposite results in Wednesday night’s area round games.
Amarillo High won another lopsided game, crushing El Paso Bel Air 63-28 at Seminole to advance to the Class 5A region quarterfinals. There they will be playing El Paso Andress, who spoiled the hopes of and Amarillo ISD postseason clash by edging Palo Duro 79-72 earlier in the day at Andrews.
That’s where Andress (17-4) will return to face Amarillo High (21-2) Friday at 6 p.m.
The Sandies opened the playoffs by crushing Abilene Wylie 72-26 in bidistrict play Monday. Bel Air (17-4) was only slightly more competitive.
Amarillo High jumped out to a 19-5 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Damonze Woods led the Sandies with 19 points while Brendan Hausen had 14 and Cade Hornecker scored 12.
Palo Duro (18-7) led Andress (17-4) by a 42-39 count at halftime. But Andress took control of the game with a 22-8 run in the third quarter, although PD cut it closer at the end.
Jelani Mohamed led the Dons with 26 points, Kadden Price had 14 and Audi Luckey and Paetyn Walker scored 13 apiece.
EP Bel Air 5 14 22 28
Amarillo High 19 29 52 63
B— KJ Ware 14. AHS— Damonze Woods 19, Brendan Hausen 14, Cade Hornecker 12. Records: Bel Air 17-4. Amarillo High 21-2.
Palo Duro 23 42 50 72
EP Andress 21 39 61 79
PD— Jelani Mohamed 26, Kadden Price 14, Paetyn Walker 13, Audi Luckey 13. EPA— C. Villegas 21, C. Smith 17. Records: Palo Duro 18-7; EP Andress 17-4.
Canyon takes down San Elizario
Canyon took advantage of a big second half to get past San Elizario 50-37 in a Class 4A area round matchup on Wednesday night at Odessa High.
Canyon showed no sluggish signs playing their second playoff game in two three days, breaking open a 24-21 halftime lead by outscoring San Elizario 26-16 in the final two quarters.
Canyon (19-7 overall) advances to the regional quarterfinals, and will now get a showdown with District 3-4A champion and No. 6-ranked Lubbock Estacado (24-2) at 6 p.m Friday at Frenship High Scholl
Sophomore post Kemper Jones gets better by the game. Jones was a force inside during Wednesday’s win pouring in a game-high 20 points. Teammate Grayson Hack chipped in with nine.
San Elizario 8 21 26 37
Canyon 15 24 36 50
S— Hernandez 20, Palacios 9. C— Jones 17, Hack 12. Records: San Elizario 12-8. Canyon 19-7.