The second-seeded Stonewall Lady Longhorns were on the verge of putting the game away in the first half of their semifinal showdown against old rival Tupelo Thursday night at the Pontotoc Conference Tournament in Allen.
Midway through the third quarter, Stonewall appeared on the verge of giving the game away.
But head coach Christie Jennings’ club made just enough plays down the stretch and made plenty of free throws throughout the game to turn back Tupelo 50-43.
“Tupelo outplayed us, they deserved to win. If we had played another quarter, we probably would have gotten beat,” said Jennings.
The win improved the Lady Longhorns (No. 12 in Class A) to 10-0 on the year and set up the meeting with top-seeded Allen in Saturday’s championship contest. But the Lady Mustangs had problems of their own against stubborn Vanoss, Allen avoided the Vanoss upset bid by scoring 10 of the game’s final 15 points to turn back the Lady Wolves 48-42.
In a pair of consolation championship games earlier in the day, the Roff Lady Tigers got a big game from Sarah Gross and defeated Asher 36-28 and the Asher boys built a 16-point first half lead before coasting past rival Wanette 48-35.
Stonewall 50, Tupelo 43
The Lady Longhorns started out on fire, hitting seven of their first 11 field goals, including 3-pointers from Brittany Gipson and Cheyanne Miller, and led 23-7 after a putback by Paige Curtis early in the second quarter.
Tupelo (7-3) never got closer than its 10-point halftime deficit, 33-23, throughout the remainder of the period. But that would change in the third quarter.
Stonewall committed eight uncharacteristic turnovers during a 12-0 Tupelo run to open the second half and a short jumper from Shanna Davidson with just under three minutes left in the third period gave Tupelo its first lead of the game at 35-33. Landra Nelson scored six straight points during the Tupelo surge and would finish with 10 for the Lady Tigers.
“We played with no passion and no purpose. We got lucky to get out of there with our lives. But you have to hand it to Tupelo, they played great,” Jennings said.
The Lady Longhorns finally turned things around, scoring seven straight points of their own — including five from Brady via three free throws and a basket on an inbounds play.
Tamara Thompson’s late putback got Tupelo (No. 16 in Class A) within 40-37 heading into the final eight minutes.
Stonewall and Tupelo traded six-point runs to open the fourth and Nelson’s baseline drive with 4:04 to play made it 46-43. But the Lady Tigers wouldn’t score again.
Brady continued her strong play for Stonewall, finishing with 17 points and eight steals. No other Stonewall player hit double digits. The Lady Longhorns sank 22-of-29 free throws compared to a 3-of-6 showing for the Lady Tigers.
Davidson scored a game-high 20 points in defeat for Tupelo.
The two teams combined for 52 turnovers.
Allen 48, Vanoss 42
After a Katie Priest jumper in the lane with 4:37 to play, Vanoss (4-4) trailed just 38-37. But Allen (5-0) finally put the game out of reach with a clutch 10-3 run. Four different Lady Mustangs scored in the pivotal stretch that ended with four straight points by Carley Collard via a pair of free throws and an easy bucket set up by a steal from Jordyn Mills.
“It was a good game. It was a fun game to be in. The crowd was crazy, and we had a packed house,” said Allen coach Jeremy Strong. “We need to be in games like that if we’re going to get better.”
Vanoss outplayed Allen for most of the first half, leading 15-10 after the first quarter. However, both teams struggled mightily in the second quarter, combining for a miserable 1-of-18 shooting slump. As a result, Vanoss had to settle for a 19-14 lead at the break.
Amber Coody and Brandi Horton opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Lady Mustangs a 20-19 lead and no more than two points separated the two teams throughout a third period that featured six lead changes and four ties.
The game stayed nip-and-tuck before Coody sank a 15-foot baseline jumper to start the late Allen run that proved to be the difference.
“We finally settled down on offense a little bit. We finally got the ball into the high post, and they had really done a good job in the first half of shutting it off,” Strong said.
Horton finished with 14 points to pace Allen while Collard added 10 points and three steals. Jocee Bailey also had a solid outing for the hosts, finishing with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Priest countered with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Wolves while Parker added 11 points and nine boards. Vanoss outrebounded Allen 37-29.
Brewer hit a trio of 3-pointers and also hit double digits for Vanoss with 10 points.
Vanoss and Tupelo will play for third place tonight at 6 p.m. prior to a pair of boys semifinal contest slated for 7:30 and 9 p.m.
Saturday’s schedule has the boys third place game starting at 4:30 p.m. followed by the girls championship contest at 6 p.m. and the boys title game at 7:30 p.m.
Asher 48, Wanette 35
After trailing 29-18 at the half, Wanette got within six at 39-33 thanks to a fast break bucket by Trever Teague and a jumper by Kelby Wood, but the Tigers could get no closer.
C.J. Sisco stopped that Wanette flurry with his fourth 3-pointer of the game as Asher (7-4) finished the game on a 9-2 run. Sisco led all scorers with 21 points while Zach Fowler added 15, including a pair of triples.
Bo Starks led the Tigers with 15 points. Wanette was without three potential starters — Clint Roberts who suffered an ACL injury before the season started, Dylan Graves, who is recovering from a shoulder injury and Carson Compton who was ill.
Roff 36, Asher 28
Sarah Gross scored a season-high 16 points to help Roff take home the girls consolation crown.
Roff led 19-11 at the break and extended its lead to 28-17 heading into the final eight minutes.
Lauren Trimmer added 11 points for Roff.
Jamee McDonald paced Asher (2-8) with 11 points while Erin Casey followed with 10.