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Sam Houston lived on a knife’s edge in its first two playoff games, but couldn’t continue its balancing act in the third.
The Hurricanes (24-13) defeated District 28-5A champion Harlan (24-9) by four points in overtime and state-ranked Austin Crockett (32-6) by a basket to reach the Region IV quarterfinals Feb. 19 at Paul Taylor Field House. That’s where Veterans Memorial (29-6), No. 7 in the final Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 5A poll, upended Sam Houston.
The Patriots established a 17-point lead in the first quarter en route to a 58-36 decision.
“It didn’t start out well,” Sam Houston coach Marchae Woods said, “but as soon as I got them to pick up the defense, we tried to come back one play at a time. At one point, we were only down 13.
“It was a game of runs. We just let them make theirs too early.”
Sam Houston reached the regional quarterfinals for the second-consecutive season. This year, the Hurricanes entered the playoffs as a No. 4 seed. They tied Brackenridge (19-14) for third place in District 27-5A, but lost a coin flip that determined seeding.
“We had a lot of determination to win,” Sam Houston senior Jalisa Wilson said. “We may have had our ups and downs, but we still worked hard.”
Providence and Sam Houston were the area’s last two remaining teams entering the week, but both seasons ended Feb. 19. Providence lost in the TAPPS Class 5A playoffs.
Veterans Memorial was well on its way to victory after scoring the game’s first five points and expanding their lead to 17 with 3:01 remaining in the first quarter. Sam Houston didn’t score until the 5:46 mark when Raishawn Smith (15 points) made a three-point shot. The Patriots led 27-10 when the quarter ended.
“We were lucky we were able to set the tempo of the game,” Veterans Memorial coach Christina Camacho said. “I told the girls, ‘Let’s make it about what we do in the first quarter.’ The energy at the beginning was huge.”
The Hurricanes were within 31-18 with 2:29 until halftime, following a three-pointer from Smith off an assist from Tyera Harris and a long jumper from Kaliyah Brown long jumper, fed by Khadija Derry (9 points). But the Patriots scored the last six points in the half.
Another three from Smith finished a 7-2 Sam Houston spurt with three minutes left in the third quarter. Wilson and Derry scored on rebound baskets that accounted for the first four points in the final period. Sam Houston trailed 51-34 with 6:57 left.
When Sam Houston got into the postseason, it had a couple of things to draw on. It had been through the crucible of a tough district and played in close games.
“That helped us a lot,” said Wilson, who made a key shot that helped the Hurricanes upset Harlan. “During overtime, we got together and worked as a team. It’s great that we got to the third round.”
Houston Second Baptist 72, Providence 71
Host Houston Second Baptist (23-5) eliminated Providence (9-20) on Feb. 19 in the TAPPS 5A area round.
Maddy Gonzalez led Providence with 14 points. The junior also grabbed 12 rebounds, eight off the offensive glass. Senior Emily Saenz scored nine points and produced a team-best six assists.