HOUSTON - Shadow Creek’s magical season came to a close in the Class 5A Girls’ Regional Basketball Semifinals Friday night.
College Station jumped out to a double digit lead in the first half and ultimately handed the Lady Sharks a 68-49 defeat at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.
The Lady Sharks, who were making a first ever region tourney appearance, end their season at 32-5, while College Station advanced to face Cedar Park in the championship game on Saturday.
Shadow Creek went out to a quick 4-0 lead on buckets by junior forward Bre`yon White and sophomore guard Brooklyn Brown, but the Lady Cougars responded with a 9-0 run and never trailed again. Despite getting many open looks from the field, the Lady Sharks only converted 30 percent of their shots, including misfires on several second chance opportunities following offensive rebounds.
Trailing 36-22 at intermission, Shadow Creek went on a 16-4 run to start the second half, capped by sophomore guard R`mani Taylor’s two free throws to cut the gap to 40-38 with three minutes left in the third. However, Jaeden McMillan ignited another 9-0 run for College Station with a three-pointer and the Lady Sharks would get no closer.
Even a buzzing beating trey by Taylor to close the period proved enough to give Shadow Creek any more momentum heading into the final eight minutes.
Taylor led the Lady Sharks with 16 points and White added 15 points. College Station’s Na`layjah Johnson paced all scorers with 17 points.
Shadow Creek delivered playoff wins over Houston Austin (98-20) and Galveston Ball (71-40) during the first two rounds. The Lady Sharks then pulled off a second half rally to edge Richmond Foster 55-49 on Feb. 25 in the Class 5A Regional Girls’ Basketball Quarterfinal at the “Shark Tank” to gain the program’s first ever trip to the regional tournament.
The Lady Sharks entered their Tuesday semifinal with three previous victories over Foster with the average margin being
a little over a 20-point separation between the 24-5A foes. However, the Lady Falcons provided plenty of fits for SC the fourth time around, courtesy of head coach Savitria Williams-Smith’s full court trapping defense.
“They (Foster) came ready to play. It’s hard to beat a team four times. It’s hard to beat a team three times,” Lady Sharks’ head coach LaToya Micheaux said following the game. “They put us in a press and made us think a little bit.”
“It slowed our game down. We’re a very fast paced team. We like to get up and down the floor a lot. She (Williams-Smith) slowed the game down and it was very effective for her. Either running the 1-3-1 or 1-2-2 made our girls think and we weren’t ready for it. We’re used to people playing us man-to-man and just want to go with the tempo of the game.”
Taylor (game-high 19 points) and White (11 points) fueled a 12-2 run in the fourth to finally help the Lady Sharks pull away. White completed a three-point play to give Shadow Creek the lead for good at 41-38, while Taylor sank both a three-pointer and field goal to increase the margin to 50-40 with a little over two minutes remaining.
Foster got as close as 52-47 in the closing minutes, but Taylor and junior guard Da`Nae Williams sealed the victory for SC at the free throw line.
“We just told the girls (at halftime) that they needed to be more patient and move the ball around,” Micheaux said. “The corners were wide open and they were giving us the three. We ought to be able to knock them down.
Once we calmed down a little bit, everything was all right.”
Shadow Creek jumped to an early 13-8 lead in the opening period, only to watch Foster’s Sharlyne Dimalanta hit from three-point country and Sydney Freeman (17 points) follow with a bucket on the next possession to tie it at 13-13 following the initial eight minutes.
The Lady Falcons then took a surprising 24-21 lead at intermission and scored the first two field goals of the second half to take their biggest advantage at 28-21.
Brown and Taylor combined to bring Shadow Creek back, though, with the sophomore duo each burying treys in the third.
With the score tied at 36-36 heading into the fourth, Foster’s Imani Ivery and Taylor traded buckets before White’s three-point play gave the Lady Sharks the upper hand for good and an ultimate breakthrough berth to the regional tourney.
The Manvel Lady Mavericks were also eliminated from the 5A last week with a 65-52 defeat to Hightower on Feb. 25 at Wheeler Field House in Sugar Land.
The Lady Mavericks roared out to a 25-11 first-quarter lead on Hightower at Wheeler.
However, the Lady Hurricanes cut the margin to 34-31 at the break and then outscored Manvel 15-9 in the third quarter to take the upper hand at 46-43 heading into the final period.
The Lady Mavs close their season at 22-13.