Lady Lions Claim Area Play-Off Win

Over Little River Academy

LADY LION POINT GUARD CAITLYN COLLINS was the wrong player for the Little River Academy to foul as her free throws helped to break the tie during last Friday’s nights game at McLennan Community College in Waco. The Teague Lady Lions clinched the win for the title of Area Champions! (Photo by Melissa Johnson Photography)

WACO - After watching a 12-point fourth quarter lead completely evaporate, the Teague Lady Lions recovered just in time to post an exciting 38-36 win over Little River Academy (23-9) in a Class 2A, Region III Area Round Playoff game on Friday, February 15.

With the victory, Teague (27-4) moved on to the Regional Quarterfinals where they were slated to face off against the Crawford Lady Pirates (26-4) in a 7:00 pm tipoff on Monday, February 18 at Robinson High School in Waco. The winner of that contest will advance to the Region III tournament at the William R. Johnson Coliseum at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches on Friday, February 22.

In last Friday?s contest played at The Highlands on the campus of McLennan Community College in Waco, both squads seemed tentative in the early going with neither able to find the basket. Teague led 7-4 behind five points from senior post Kyera Abram before sophomore point guard Caitlyn Collins bottomed out a trey from college range at the buzzer to send the Lady Lions to a 10-4 advantage.

But in the second quarter, the Lady Lions? shooting touch abandoned them as they finished the period 1-of-15 from the field and scored but a single bucket with junior NiCosha Nelms accounting for the team?s only two points early in the stanza. The Lady Bees didn?t fare much better shooting but did finish the quarter on an 8-0 run to knot the score at 12-12 by the half.

The second half saw a much different Teague squad emerge from the locker room as the Lady Lions opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run to jump out to a 21-12 lead with just over five minutes left to play in the period. Teague?s defensive pressure from its full court press kept the Lady Bees off the scoreboard in the early going of the third stanza.

Academy finally managed to battle back and closed the gap to 24-20 with 2:01 left before Teague finished with a 7-2 flourish to end the quarter up 31-22. The Lady Lions? 19 points in the period came on seven points from Abram, six from Collins and six from senior guard Haley Guerrero who knocked down two 3-pointers in the quarter while Abram added a third for Teague.

The fourth quarter unfolded with Guerrero nailing another long-range jumper to push the Lady Lions to a seemingly comfortable 34-22 lead. But Academy refused to fold and fought back as the Lady Bees heated up while Teague cooled off in the final seven minutes of play.

Teague could not seem to buy a bucket on the offensive end as they went 0-of-6 from the field after Guerrero?s make while Academy got seven points from senior forward Brianna Chudej and four more from junior center Kelsey Sprinkles to pull even at 34-34 with 2:18 left in the contest.

After both teams failed on consecutive possessions to take the lead, Teague?s Collins was fouled with 36 seconds left and went to the line with a 1-and-1 opportunity to put her team back ahead.

The sophomore calmly sank both free throws to push the Lady Lions back out in front at 36-34. Teague?s defense then got another stop on the defensive end to regain control of the ball with Collins being fouled again. Although this time she missed the front end of the 1-and-1, the Lady Lions came up with yet another great defensive effort to thwart the Lady Bees? offense once again.

With just 0:12 remaining in regulation, Collins was fouled for the third time in the quarter and responded by hitting both ends of the 1-and-1 to put Teague up 38-34. Academy scored on a driving layup with two seconds left to cut its deficit to two points. Teague then allowed the clock to run out without having to inbound the ball because the Lady Bees were out of timeouts and the Lady Lions were able to hold on for the 38-36 victory.

Collins led Teague with 15 points while Abram added 12 with Guerrero chipping in nine and Nelms scoring two as only four players scored for Coach Taylor Sims? squad.

Abram had a monster game on the boards as she pulled down 16 rebounds while Guerrero and Nelms added five more apiece. Others grabbing caroms for the Lady Lions were Collins, Alie Watson, Abbey Hurst and Sibyl Burrell.

Collins handed out six assists while directing the Teague offensive attack while Guerrero, Nelms and Hurst also were credited with assists in the contest. Abram had the only blocked shot for Teague in the game.

The Lady Lions only had two steals defensively with Collins and Abram accounting for those but the defensive pressure from Teague especially at the start of the first and third quarters led to 26 turnovers by the Lady Bees.

Teague shot 9-of-31 (29%) from close range and 5-of-19 (26%) from behind the arc with Guerrero hitting three and Collins and Abram connecting once each from downtown.

From the free-throw line, the Lady Lions managed a 5-of-12 (42%) effort on the evening. Teague turned the ball over 16 times in the contest with eight in each half.

For Academy, Chudej (#24) finished with 16 points to lead scorers in the game but was the only player on her squad to score in double figures. The Sprinkles sisters (#5 Kelby and #12 Kelsey), who combined for 34 points in Academy?s 38-36 Bi-District win over Clifton, were held to seven points each by the Lady Lions.

Taylor Dillard (#11) also scored four points for the Lady Bees while Kayla Kelso (#32) added two. Academy went to the line 17 times in the game and connected on nine of those attempts. The Lady Bees also made three treys in the contest with Chudej (2) and Kelby Sprinkles (1) accounting for the 3-pointers.

(Complete statistics for each Teague game and season totals can be found at www.maxpreps.com).

LADY LION NOTES: The Lady Lions last qualified for the playoffs in the 2009-10 season in Coach Sims? second year as head coach. They were eliminated that season in the Bi-District round in a 43-34 loss to Frankston.

The 38-36 win over Academy is the Lady Lions? first playoff victory since the 1985-86 season in which they advanced to the Regional Tournament at Denton before being eliminated in a 70-58 loss to Grandview.

The playoff roster for Teague against Academy consisted of seniors Kali Crowhurst, Haley Guerrero, Sibyl Burrell and Kyera Abram; juniors NiCosha Nelms, Kirby Cooper and Kenya Busby; sophomores Danielle McWilliams, Caitlyn Collins, Alie Watson, Abbey Hurst and Hannah Matchett and freshmen Hope Scales and Jasmine McQuirter.

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