PLAINVIEW– The Tascosa Lady Rebels both dished it out and took it in Tuesday night’s Class 5A region quarterfinal against Lubbock-Cooper at Wayland Baptist University’s Hutcherson Center.
In the end, though, the scoreboard wouldn’t allow the Lady Rebels to continue their season.
It was as competitive as could be expected between No. 21 Tascosa and No. 8 Cooper in a contrast of styles. Tascosa made an impressive fourth quarter rally, but it wasn’t quite enough, as Cooper escaped with a 58-55 victory.
The Lady Rebels finish their season 26-5, while the Lady Pirates (28-6) will face Colleyville Heritage on Friday in the Region I-5A semifinals at Wichita Falls.
It was a fairly typical game for Tascosa under first-year coach Chris Sumrall. The Lady Rebels established a physical style which kept them in the game, especially rebounding the ball, and showed why they were still playing at this point.
“We have battled all year long,” Sumrall said. “I think the second time we played Amarillo High is the worst we got beat and that ended up being 10 points. We’ve always been within five or six, something like that. To stay in there and battle like that, I’m proud.”
Tascosa only led in the opening minutes as Cooper’s 3-point shooting took centerstage early. The Lady Pirates hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter and led 21-9 at the end of the first quarter, the biggest lead they enjoyed the whole game.
Cooper finished with nine 3-pointers, cooling off considerably in the last three quarters. Sumrall knew that the Lady Pirates never met a 3-pointer they didn’t like.
Calyn Dallas and Majik Esquivel both hit a pair of threes in the first quarter to send a message to the Lady Rebels.
“Majik hit some big ones early,” Sumrall said. “She got loose a couple of times and we didn’t quite get to her because she’s got such a quick release. From about the middle of the second quarter on I thought we did a significantly better job on her.”
Tascosa steadily chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter, getting as close as two points. Cooper led 31-25 at halftime.
Where the Lady Pirates might be considered more of a finesse team offensively, Tascosa prefers to go inside to score, preferably to 6-foot-1 post Avery Carter, who had a double-double with a game-high 19 points and 14 rebounds.
“We’re outsized almost every single game,” Cooper coach Kyle Lovorn said. “Tascosa’s such a great team and we’ve seen physical athletic teams like that, so I felt like our girls were prepared for that.”
Cooper appeared to have permanently seized the momentum back in the third quarter. When Peyton North opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, Cooper led 52-41 and seemed in charge.
But that was the last field goal for the Lady Pirates. Tascosa scored the next 10 points, concluding with Carter’s basket to make it 52-51.
However, the Lady Pirates were able to take some air out of the ball and ice the game at the free throw line. After she missed her first free throw of the quarter (Cooper’s only miss at the line in 14 attempts), Carissa Cortez hit four straight one-and-one attempts and Esquivel hit two to give the Lady Pirates a 58-51 cushion with 30 seconds left which proved insurmountable.
While it wasn’t the end to his first season at Tascosa that Sumrall would have preferred, his success this season validated his decision to go there after a successful run with Wellington.
“I haven’t really second-guessed the decision,” Sumrall said. “I did leave a situation but I believe I came to a good situation. I’m pleased with where I’m at.”
Senior Daizjia Oages had 13 points in her final game at Tascosa before fouling out. Aniyah Brackens scored 10 for the Lady Rebels.
Dallas led Cooper with 16 points and Esquivel had 13.
Tascosa 9 25 41 55
Lubbock-Cooper 21 31 49 58
T– Avery Carter 19, Daizjia Oages 13, Aniyah Brackens 10. LC– Calyn Dallas 16, Majik Esquivel 13. Records: Tascosa 26-5, Cooper 28-6.