Amarillo High’s Jada Graves dribbles past a Tascosa defender during a District 3-5A contest at the THS Activiy Center on Tuesday night. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]
An all too accurate snapshot of where two Amarillo ISD rivals stand after two games of District 3-5A play emerged Tuesday night at the Tascosa Activity Center.
For the Amarillo High Lady Sandies, everything appears to be in focus, while the Tascosa Lady Rebels are still waiting for their shot to develop.
Amarillo High, ranked No. 6 by the Texas High School Basketball Coaches Association, is showing why it is the district favorite in the early stages of 3-5A play. The Lady Sandies scored their second straight lopsided win over an AISD opponent to open district crushing Tascosa 81-39.
While Amarillo High (19-5, 2-0 in district) is hard enough to beat under ideal circumstances, Tascosa (8-14, 0-2) entered the nigh trying to play this particular card game without most of one suit in the deck. Not only were the Lady Rebels missing sophomore post Avery Carter for the season with an ACL injury, they were without three key players who were injured in the district opening loss to Randall.
That played perfectly into the hands of the Lady Sandies, who followed up their district opening 70-21 win over Palo Duro with another rout to prove the first one wasn’t a fluke.
“The kids have played well and played efficient,” AHS coach Jeff Williams said. “We’re sharing the ball really well. I like this team. We can get out and really run with anybody. The kids are really executing the offense well and taking a ton of charges defensively, so I’m very happy with this group.”
There wasn’t a lot to be unhappy over for the Lady Sandies, who were in control the entire way. They scored 10 of the game’s first 11 points and steadily increased their lead for four quarters.
Amarillo High was dominant at both ends of the court, but really established things inside offensively with senior Briley Barnes and junior McKenzie Smith in the first half.
Barnes, who will play at Tulsa next year, had eight points in the first quarter while Smith matched that total in the second quarter. That was a huge reason Amarillo High led 56-17 at halftime, making the outcome seem like a formality.
Smith had a game-high 17 points and Barnes had 14, as both sat the final 12 minutes of the game. A lot of those points came on second chance shots in the paint.
“Those two girls can really play,” Williams said. “They’re very tough on the boards. We get the ball inside to them, they’re going to get to the free throw line and they play a very physical brand of basketball. They’re a nice duo down low.”
Using size as 6-footers, Smith and Barnes are taking advantage of the situation.
“Us being the biggest two on the team, they expect us to go out and get a lot of rebounds and crash the boards hard,” Smith said. “I feel like we have a lot to do and coming from the previous tournaments playing the Metroplex teams, they have actually taught us a lot to take from there to here. Williams always tells us a game at a time, so don’t get too far ahead and focus on that game and not the next opponent.”
Sophomore Jada Graves scored 11 points for Amarillo High and junior Lacey Rice had 10. All 10 Lady Sandies who got in the game scored, and four of Amarillo High’s five starters sat the entire fourth quarter.
Tascosa, who doesn’t carry any seniors, was missing three key players besides Carter in junior Daizjia Oages, sophomore Aniyah Brackends and freshman Saphina Stanley.
“It took us awhile to settle down,” Tascosa coach Betsy Baughman said. “The good news is that some of our other players on the bench got some experience. We got a little frustrated early but they started settling down and doing a much better job toward the end of the game. I found some good things from that although it was a really rough game.”
Zaymiah Dickson led Tascosa with 11 points and Sieyera Emile had 10.
Amarillo High 30 56 70 81
Tascosa 9 17 25 39
AHS – McKenzie Smith 17, Briley Barnes 14, Jada Graves 11, Lacey Rice 10. T – Zaymiah Dickson 11, Sieyera Emile 10. Records: Amarillo High 19-5, 2-0. Tascosa 8-14, 0-2.