Corsicana — Girls
Kerens 60, Frost 40: It took a spark, but what it spark it was, to ignite the Kerens LadyCats, who didn’t need much motivation to win their ninth consecutive girls Kiwanis Classic Basketball Tournament on Saturday night.
Kerens was in trouble early but a technical foul -- called on the Kerens bench with 3:39 left and Frost leading 19-15 -- set the kids from Kerens on fire. After the tech, Kerens outscored Frost 32-11 to take a 57-30 lead before the benches emptied for the final minutes.
“I think that tech kind of inspired us,” Kerens Coach Denise Lincoln said. “They got after it after that tech.’’
Kerens has been after it for years and won its 15th title in 16 years.
Breanna Baxter, a junior, who wants to win No. 10 in a row next season, finished with 18 points. Cambree Betts scored 13 and Marqueshia Kelly had eight points and 10 rebounds. Kiara Lindsey hit two big 3s and finished with eight points.
Frost was led by Jae Moore’s 20-ppoint night and Diana Rios, who scored nine.
“It felt amazing to win it,’’ Baxter said. “Just like always.’’
Frost came out ready to take the crown. Moore set the tone by making her first three shots, including a 3 and dropped in nine of Frost’s 14 first-quarter points as the Lady Bears took a 14-9 lead into the second quarter.
The game was halted in the second when an fan had to be escorted from the stands, and Kerens took over right after the break, which came at the same time as the technical foul.
Baxter nailed a 3 to close the gap to 19-8 and she followed that play by intercepting the inbounds pass and driving for a 20-19 lead. Madison Revill answered for Frost to give he Bears a 21-21 lead, but Ames came up with her fourth steal of the first half and went coast-to-coast to lift Kerens to a 22-21 edge. Rios ended the half by making a free throw that sent the teams to their lockers all knotted up at 22.
Moore did not take a shot from the floor in the second quarter and Kerens used 10 second-quarter turnovers, including six steals, to climb back into the game.
Betts opened the second half a with an and-one play to give Kerens a lead it would not relinquish, thanks in part to Lindsey, who followed Betts’ big play with back-to-back 3s to the rush was on to the title.
Lincoln said she didn't say much at halftime.
"I didn't have to say much to motivate them,'' she said. "We've been to the state tournaments. The motivation is there. I told them that nobody wants you to win. Only the Kerens people want you to win.And I told them you have to be 10 points ahead going into the fourth quarter. They gave me 17. They know what they have to do.''
Baxter said the players just needed to get focused after the tough start, and the technical foul made them realize just how much they needed to focus.
"We had to put that out of our minds,'' she said. "We needed to pick it up and not let the refs get into our heads. And we knew we had to take (Moore) and Rios) out of the game and play defense on them. We knew if we took them out of the game we would take over.''
They did just that.
Hubbard 49, Mildred 35
Hubbard bounced back from its first loss of the season (a 64-34 loss to Kerens) and took care of Mildred (8-8) to take third place in the Kiwanis Tournament and improve to 14-1.
Jasmine Parks and Nakaila Banks led the Lady Jags with 10 points. Shelby Adamson led Mildred with 11 points and Maddie Moore followed with eight. Mildred struggled at the free throw line, where the Lady Eagles missed 14 of their first 15 and finished the game making just 9-of-28 free throws.
Teague 51, Blooming Grove 23: Too many fouls and too many turnovers haunted Blooming Grove (5-7) in the girls consolation final against Teague (13-5).
Starters Tre Wiggins and Brittany Nichols both ran into foul trouble early and sat out most of the second and third quarters, and Teague took advantage and turned 9-7 edge into a comfortable cushion. Teague forced a dozen turnovers in the third quarter and went on a 15-2 run to take control.
Blooming Grove was led by Hannah Southard, who hit two 3s and finished with eight points. Teague was led by Ali Watson, who scored 11 and Caitlyn Collins, who followed with 10 points.
Dawson 41, Milford 30: After a slow start, Dawson took a halftime lead and poured it on in the fourth quarter to win the seventh-place game. Stephanie Lindsey had 19 points, all in the final three periods, to lead the Lady Bulldogs, who improved to 5-10. Courtney Warren had seven for the Lady Bulldogs, and Kaylee Martinez added six.
Dawson trailed 7-5 after the first, but held Rice (2-13) to two second period points to take an 11-9 lead at the half. Dawson led 22-19 after three.
Ashton Metcalfe had eight of her team-high 10 points in the third, and Samantha Harris added nine for Rice.
Mildred 66, Rice 57: Mildred missed its first nine shots of the game, but made them when they counted, fighting through 14 lead changes to beat Rice, which led early and swapped leads late.
The Eagles got a huge effort from Mikey Muncey, who made 13-of-16 free throws and finished with 19 points, and Jase Butler, who dropped in 17, including seven in the frenetic fourth quarter when Mildred finally took over the see-saw game.
Sim Nezar made five 3s and finished with 21 points to lead Rice and Daniel Arteaga followed with 13 points.
Nezar hit a 3 and then a putback on his own rebound to close the gap to 49-48 with about five minutes left, but Mildred went on an 11-0 run that was capped off by a 3 from Butler to leap to a 60-48 lead and the Eagles never looked back.
Nezar made it interesting with his fifth 3 of the night, which cut the lead to64-57 with 13 seconds left but it wasn’t enough to stop Mildred frm taking home the third place trophy.
Hubbard 42, Frost 30: Hubbard has been having problems shooting free throws all season and lost to Rice in a close game in the opening round of the Kiwanis Tournament when the Jags went 1-for-11 from the free throw line.
They found a team with the same problem in the consolation final Saturday. Frost (6-6) went 2-for-12 from the stripe and turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 20 times. That combo spelled defeat for the Polar Bears, who were led by Kobe Hailey’s seven-point effort.
D’Warren Simmons poured in 16 points for the Jags (8-5) but the game ball probably should have gone to Jordan Johnson who had a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing a dozen rebounds.
Dawson 39, Milford 28: Dawson started strong, then held off Milford down the stretch in the seventh place game. Lane Dotson had 16 points to pace Dawson, which improved to 4-11. Two of the wins have come against Milford, which is 0-5 after playing in the 6-man state finals in football Dec. 14.
Dawson led 33-19 heading into the final period.
Seth Lachney added nine points for Dawson, and Ryan Gray added seven. Jacardus Gates led Milford with 15.