Lady Sandies dominate in second half to rout Lake Dallas


Share post:

The Amarillo High Lady Sandies won the Region I-5A championship on Saturday at the Kay Yeager Coliseum in Wichita Falls. [Richard Cleaver/ Press Pass Sports]

WICHITA FALLS— Tradition in and of itself doesn’t win basketball games, but the Amarillo High Lady Sandies seemed to have that on their side Saturday afternoon at Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s what has the Lady Sandies in their third state tournament in the last five years.

After a dismal start shooting the ball in the first quarter of the Region I-5A final against Lake Dallas, Amarillo High suddenly seemed to remember that tradition. The Lady Sandies dominated in the third quarter, taking over the game and rolling to a 63-42 victory to earn them a ticket to the state tournament next week in San Antonio.

Amarillo High (32-5), ranked No. 5 in the state, will open the tournament Thursday night against an opponent to be named early Sunday.

Even though the Lady Sandies start only one senior, there was no sense of panic after a poor offensive start. They remembered how they got in the position in the first place.

“We’ve got the athleticism I think to get back in it if we just pull rebounds and get out in transition and we did that,” AHS coach Jeff Williams said. “We started getting after their shooter, number 22 (Camryn Richardson). I don’t know if there was something lost in translation, but they were not getting out to her the way they should have early.”

Amarillo High couldn’t get many shots to fall in the first quarter. But the Lady Sandies chipped away in the second quarter and briefly took the lead in the final minute before settling for a 22-22 halftime tie.

The Lady Sandies couldn’t find any offensive continuity and fell behind 15-4 as Camryn Richardson hit three 3-pointers for Lake Dallas (33-5). Amarillo High got some momentum going, though, when Mckenzie Smith hit a 3-pointer at the quarter buzzer to cut it to 15-9.

After Lake Dallas went up 20-11 in the second quarter, the Lady Sandies picked things up, scoring 11 straight points. Richardson’s three was the only shot the Lady Falcons made from the floor in the quarter.

With a minute left in the half, Amarillo High’s Briley Barnes hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 20, then Jada Graves made a steal and passed it to Taytum Bell for a layup to give the Lady Sandies their only lead of the half at 22-20. Najhaia McCoy of Lake Dallas made two free throws to tie it before halftime.

That was an indication of things to come offensively in the second half, as sophomore point guard Graves helped spark Amarillo High’s transition game.

“We know we can chip away and the score and come back, so we just had to stay patient,” said Graves who along with fellow sophomore Victoria Barrera led the Lady Sandies with 12 points in addition to four assists. “We just had to keep our composure and we knew what we were capable of. It’s a lot of fun. I love playing with this team and I just love the opportunity to be here.”

Amarillo High wasted no time in taking control to start the second half. Bell opened the half with a 3-pointer to give the Lady Sandies the lead for good then senior Briley Barnes converted a three-point play to make it 28-22.

“We did that against (Lubbock) Cooper the other night too,” said Williams, whose team beat Cooper 62-50 in the region quarterfinals. “We jumped out and went on a nice run and that gave us a little separation. We worked to get a stop then go down and get a basket. The kids just executed very well in that quarter to put pressure on (the Lady Falcons).”

Nobody had a huge scoring game for the Lady Sandies, but they still had five players score in double figures. Barnes, Smith and Bell all finished with 10 points.

For the second straight night, Barnes posted a double-double. Barnes, the lone senior starter who has signed with Tulsa, had 10 rebounds against Lake Dallas one night after she had 10 points and 18 rebounds in a 73-50 win over Mansfield Timberview.

“We don’t see very big teams in our district and we knew we were going to come in here and see more big, physical teams,” said Barnes, who also reached the 1,000-point career plateau against Timberview. “We knew coming into it that boards were going to make or break the game. That’s something I’ve been focusing on.”

The third quarter, meanwhile, was a monumental offensive struggle for Lake Dallas. After Richardson’s three in the second quarter, the Lady Falcons didn’t hit another field goal until Mackenzie Buss scored on a layup late in the third quarter, by which time Amarillo High was pulling away and waving goodbye.

AHS led 45-29 and the end of the quarter, leaving little doubt about the outcome.

“When you’re getting looks and they’re not falling it gets frustrating,” Lake Dallas coach Jordan Davis said. “You start to doubt yourself a little bit. That’s basketball. Amarillo’s a great, fundamental well-coached team that was really just on everything.”

Depth was also a factor favoring the Sandies. Barrera came off the bench and played some key minutes in both halves. She made eight straight free throws after missing her first attempt, including two in the fourth quarter after Davis got called for a technical.

Barrera drilled them both despite Lake Dallas fans making a lot of noise, which might be good preparation for the state tournament.

“Coming off the bench I knew I had a pretty big role and I knew I just had to do my job,” Barrera said. “I believe I am the spark in some people’s minds. When I got up for those technical I just took a deep breath and said ‘I’ve got this.’ In the state tournament, that’s what I’m ready to do.”

Buss led Lake Dallas 14 points and Richardson’s 12 all came in the first half.

Lake Dallas 15 22 29 42

Amarillo High 9 22 45 63

LD— Mackenzie Buss 14, Camryn Richardson 12. AHS— Jada Graves 12, Victoria Barrera 12, Taytum Bell 10, Briley Barnes 10, Mckenzie Smith 10. Records: Lake Dallas 33-5, Amarillo High 32-5.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Get email updates

Local Sponsor

Related articles

Tascosa hires Chris Sumrall as new girls basketball coach

Amarillo ISD announced Thursday morning that Chris Sumrall has been hired as the new Tascosa head girls basketball coach. Sumrall has spent the past seven seasons at Wellington.

Alan Sharpensteen wins modifieds and maintain lead atop Route 66 standings

Alan Sharpensteen held on to the points with a victory at the Route 66 Speedway on Saturday night.

Dumas highlights State 7-on-7 State Football Championship

Amarillo High, Dumas, Hereford, Childress and Stratford all competed at the State 7-on-7 Football Championship on Thursday through Saturday at Veterans Park in College Station.

Canyon’s Abree Winfrey shines at Nike Outdoor National Meet

Canyon's Abree Winfrey won the 400 meter hurdle event at the 2022 Nike Outdoor National Track and Field meet in Eugene, Ore.