By Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun
Art Prevost’s message was pretty clear.
He stood in the Ennis gym Monday night after watching his kids, the Corsicana girls basketball team, lose to Seguin 47-35 in the bi-district round of the Class 4A playoffs, and had nothing but praise for his players -- and Corsicana.
After all, his kids had made some history, becoming the first girls basketball team in 21 years to reach the postseason, and that’s what Prevost wanted to talk about.
“We lost tonight to a real good team, but we let people know Corsicana is here. Corsicana has arrived,” he said. “They know who Corsicana is! You can go to the Metroplex now and they know who Corsicana is.
“I am so proud of them, proud of Corsicana and this crowd tonight,’’ he said. “We must have had 1,300 or 1,400 people here. I’m proud of our fans and proud of Corsicana. Anyone who came to this game saw a quality basketball game. We came up short, but we gave a great effort.”
The Corsicana fans were loud, louder and loudest all night. They outnumbered Seguin 15-or 20-to 1 and almost completely filled the home side of the Ennis gym, turning the place into Corsicana North and gave the game an electric atmosphere all night. They were dressed in blue and gold and most were on their feet including the wacky Krush Krew student section, throughout the game.
The Lady Tigers might have been on edge earlier in their first dance in postseason play, and Seguin 23-9 and a constant playoff team that went to the regionals last year, made the most of it, building an early lead that was fueled by an aggressive defense that forced 13 first half turnovers and out-rebounded Corsicana 17-6 in the first half. The Lady Cougars took a 25-16 lead into halftime, but after the break nothing was the same.
Corsicana flipped everything and started forcing turnovers and crashing the boards and out-rebounded Seguin in the second half 15-6 while forcing nine turnovers while turning the ball over eight times in a second half that saw the Lady out-hustle Seguin on the boards and scramble for every lose ball.
Kennady Betts was a force inside in the second half and Erica Melendez and Briana Biltz all hit the boards -- and the floor hard.
“Kennady Betts really grew up tonight,’’ Prevost said of his sophomore post. “Kennady Betts stepped up and Alexis Baston handled the pressure all night.’’
Baston, a sophomore guard, had a brilliant night and fought off Seguin’s unrelenting pressure all night and finished with 12 points to lead Corsicana.
Seguin’s pressure never did let up and both teams put on a defensive show of force and heart, and the officials let them play a very physical hard-fought game.
“No doubt, they are the best defensive team we played all year,” Prevost said. They are a mirror of us.”
The game looked tat way and played that way, but Seguin’s early lead and the poise down the stretch by the Lady Cougars sent them to the Area round of the playoffs.
Corsicana (21-9) never let up and when Betts hit an inside shot with 6:47 left, the Lady Tigers were down by five -- 35-30. But Corsicana hit a cold spell and couldn’t find the basket, and didn‘t score again until Baston hit a pair of free throws with 1:49 left to close to 43-32.
“We went through a real low and we couldn’t score for four or five minutes, but we fought and we fought and we fought,’’ Prevost said. “This team showed so much heart, coming back and never giving in tonight. That score doesn’t tell you what kind of game this was -- it was a lot closer than the score. We played everybody. I could have not played everyone and we might have cut it down to six or five points at the end, but these kids have worked so hard this year. They deserved to have a chance to get on the court.‘’
Betts and Melendez both finished with seven points each, and Sha Sha Taylor and Ariel Bartee scored five points each while Destini Lunsford added two points in the defense-first, low scoring game. Alarie Mayze, a 5-11 junior, led Seguin with 16 points and the Lady Cougars’ leading scorer all year, Laurynn McGowen, finished with 13.