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Lady Lion hoops clinches playoff berth despite home loss

There was the downside of a loss for the Lady Lions at home on Tuesday, but also a far more important bright side that actually didn’t have anything to do with their ballgame.
Ennis (18-10, 7-4) only trailed the No. 12 Arlington Seguin Cougars by two points heading to the fourth quarter before the visitors controlled the late action for a 59-44 victory. Elsewhere in 15-4A action, however, Midlothian defeated Corsicana to lock up the third district playoff spot for everybody’s favorite maroon-clad squad. After being blown off the court in the first quarter at Arlington Seguin, coach David Kilpatrick was pleased to see his team give the district leaders a much better game.
“Heading into the playoffs in the third spot, we’ll probably face either Copperas Cove or Killeen,” Kilpatrick said in terms of the big picture for his team before getting down to the night’s action.
“We’re past moral victories as a second-year playoff team and felt like we should’ve won tonight. At the same time, Seguin had their way with us last year and returned all five starters. We lost a couple of key players from last year’s team and have still been able to close the gap.
“I actually think we have more upside and potential on this team, so we have to make good on that. For three quarters, I thought we played our best basketball of the season.”
Emily Rejcek led the Lady Lions with 11 points and Sharna Polk added 10. Ennis received several more noteworthy scoring contributions from Tina Anderson (eight), Brittney Washington (six), Shakela Hayden (five) and Michelle English (four).
The Cougars came out of the first quarter with an 11-7 advantage. Rejcek was key to the home team hanging in there as she scored five in the frame.
“We did a better job of beating their press this time around and Emily was the recipient of some good passes early on for some key baskets to keep it close,” Kilpatrick said.
“It was 8-1 [in Seguin’s favor] pretty quick, but we’d missed some easy shots and it wasn’t like they were dominating us or anything. From that point on, I thought we played really good defense the rest of the first half to hold them to 22.”
Ennis was at its best at both ends of the court in the second quarter, winning the frame 15-11 for a 22-22 halftime score. Anderson got rolling with six points as Polk scored five of her own in the quarter.
“Sharna hit some big shots in the second quarter,” the coach said.
“It was a back-and-forth game and she helped keep us right there. Tina was really driving to the basket well with her patented runner in the lane and was very aggressive in the second and third quarters.
“We had some confidence coming in. Even though Seguin jumped on us at their place, we had three good quarters that night. This time we were the aggressor for the first three quarters.”
Polk was the top Lady Lion in the third quarter with four points. The lead changed hands several times as a late Seguin spurt put the visitors up 37-35 heading to the fourth.
“Seguin hit a couple of baskets to open the second half and then we took over to go up by five – we had them on the ropes,” Kilpatrick said.
“Unfortunately, some defensive breakdowns at the end of the quarter enabled them to go up by two and we never could regain the momentum after that. We were on pace to keep their offense down in the low ‘40s; we just wore down a bit in the fourth quarter.”
As the coach alluded to, the Cougars decisively won the final frame 22-9. On the bright side, Rejcek was 4-4 at the charity stripe down the stretch and didn’t miss a free throw all night. As a team, Ennis was 10-13 from the line.
“Seguin’s best player (Alex Adakunle – 10 points) didn’t play much until late and with fresh legs she dominated the fourth quarter,” Kilpatrick said.
“She was the district MVP last year and definitely had a huge impact for them. Emily has come a long way at the free throw line since the start of the season.
“We did a great job at the line as a team and I wish we could’ve got there more often.
“The kids have put in a lot of time during practice on that part of the game.”
To wrap up the regular season as they gear up for the playoffs, the Lady Lions have an open date on Friday and then conclude district play on Tuesday in Corsicana at 8 p.m.
“Everything we do from here on has to be centered around defense and rebounding,” the coach said.
“In the playoffs, we have to limit teams to one shot and get stops.”

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Posted by on Jan 30 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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