|Saltillo headed to Class A, Div. II semifinals|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Feb. 18, 2006 - LITTLE ELM - The No. 17-ranked Saltillo Lady Lions are headed to the Class A, Div. II regional semifinals after taking down the Henrietta Midway Lady Falcons, 35-28, Friday night.
"I thought my kids as young as they are, I am really proud of how things are going against us with momentum turning towards the other team and they still fought, they still played hard and they found a way to get it done," said Saltillo coach Garry Davison. "I thought Chloe (Roberts) played really well and I thought my freshman Emily White stepped up and played big for us tonight. She scored a bunch of buckets on the inside for us and she went to the boards hard tonight."
Roberts scored 15 points and pulled down four rebounds to go along with two steals and four assists, while White had nine points and five rebounds, and sophomore Winter Stevens rounded out the Lady Lions scoring with a double-double of 11 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Midway was led by senior Peyton Cantrell with 11 points, four rebounds and one steal while teammate Melissa Perkins had five points and three rebounds.
The Lady Lions will face Stephenville Huckabay - a 49-44 winner over Kopperl in their area round match-up - in the regional semifinals and Davison said the details for the game are being worked out today.
"We are going to try and play Tuesday night since we have the TAKS test Tuesday morning and we haven't decided yet on that game," the coach said. "I will be meeting with the coach today to decide the details."
In the first six minutes of the contest, Saltillo capitalized on the man-to-man defense of Midway and jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind six points each from Roberts and Stevens. Midway then found a way to get on the scoreboard with a basket from Alicia Rater off of a Courtney Bullinger assist with 1:40 remaining in the first quarter.
"The first six or seven minutes of the game was absolutely perfect, and I couldn't have drawn it up any better," Davison said. "They didn't get many good looks and then we were driving down and getting good looks and scoring. We executed it early great, and I thought down the stretch and especially in the second quarter we got stagnant and we quit cutting hard and stopped going back-door."
The second period was a different story. Midway cut the Saltillo lead to two points, 18-16, late in the period as Micah Myers drained back-to-back jumpers with 29 seconds remaining before Roberts nailed a 3-pointer to give the Lady Lions a 21-16 lead heading into the locker room.
"We struggled and I thought we took a couple of rushed shots and I think it all started on the defensive end," the coach said. "We gave them some shots that we shouldn't have and we stopped playing our defense like it needed to be played."
In the third period, Saltillo held only a five-point lead on two separate occasions and their biggest lead of six points at 26-20 was on a basket from Stevens off of a Roberts assist with 4:46 remaining.
Midway shot their first free throws of the game with 3:27 left in the third period, but Stephanie Vicars missed them both. Midway shot 5-of-9 at the line for 55.6 percent, compared to 5-of-13 shooting for 38.5 percent for the Lady Lions.
The Lady Falcons found a way to cut the Lady Lions lead to 26-23 as Myers found Perkins for an easy basket with 1:50 remaining in the third, but they would not be able to get any closer for the remainder of the game.
Davison said executing better in the next round will be a main focus during practice as they have seen two different styles of defense in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
"I think we have to execute better and we went against zone in the first round and won. Then we went against man in the second round and won ,and I think my kids are prepared if we can just execute better," the coach said.
With 2:20 remaining in the final quarter, Stevens rebounded a Roberts miss and made the putback attempt to give Saltillo a 33-26 lead. On Saltillo's next possession, White went strong to the basket and was fouled by Cantrell, who fouled out of the game as White made 1-of-2 free throws.
Saltillo shot 14-of-42 in the game for 33.3 percent, while Midway went 11-of-44 from the field for 25 percent, and Saltillo out-rebounded Midway 29-20, had more steals (8-2) and more assists (6-5). The two teams combined for 24 fouls and 32 turnovers.