When they needed to, the Cayuga Ladycats buckled down Thursday.
Cayuga held off a second-half charge from Terrell to advance in the Frankston Maidens Invitational Tournament with a 62-52 win, moving on to face Canton at 5:30 p.m. today in the semifinals.
“I think when you win close games it shows heart,” CHS coach Tommy Cross said. “When the other team caught up, we could’ve put our heads down and quit, but we didn’t. We fought through it.”
Cayuga looked as if it might have put things away early on, scoring 23 points in the second quarter to open up a 39-24 lead at halftime after a close-fought first quarter.
But, in the third quarter, the Lady Tigers’ press began to cause problems for the Ladycats, and the third-point shots that had been falling in the first half refused to go down.
Terrell held Cayuga to only four points in the third quarter, and scored 16 of its own to cut the lead to 43-40 heading into the final quarter.
But, Cayuga made some clutch shots late — starting with just under five minutes to play.
That’s when junior Madyson Gunnels hit a three to make it 49-44 Cayuga. Senior Shawnta Knox followed that up with a quick steal of the Terrell inbound pass and got fouled, sending her to the line.
Knox missed both free throws, but Madison Spears was there for an offense rebound and a nice scoop lay-up to make it 51-44 Cayuga, and the Ladycats never looked back.
After a small 4-0 run from Terrell, Spears hit another three-pointer to make it 54-48, and she then hit two free throws to answer a Lady Tiger bucket on the other end that made it 54-50.
Less than a minute later, Gunnels hit two free throws to make it 58-50
“You’ve got to close things out making lay-ups and free throws,” Cross said.
Cayuga really iced the game with a “four corners” offense that spread Terrell out and saw Cayuga players take turns dribbling toward one-another before passing the ball off to a teammate.
That sequence culminated with a wide-open lay-up for Spears with the clock under 30 seconds to play.
“That’s the only shot I’ll let them take in that situation,” Cross said after the game.
It capped off a huge night for sophomore, who finished with 26 points, five rebounds and six assists.
Gunnells added 11 points and three rebounds, while Kylee Cross had 10 points. Danielle Anderson had six points and seven rebounds.
In the win, Cayuga shot 23 three-pointers and hit seven (30 percent). If Tommy Cross has his way, that’s not going to always be the case moving forward.
“That’s just kind of how it happened today,” he said. “We’re very guard-heavy and guard-oriented, so we’re looking for lay-ups and three balls and free throws.”
When they needed to, the Cayuga Ladycats buckled down Thursday.
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H.S. Football: Elkhart's Wilson picks up 2nd offer
Elkhart running back Jeffrey Wilson isn’t even into his senior year yet, and already there are some major decisions on his plate.
The Elks star picked up his second college offer Thursday, this one from the University of North Texas. The Mean Green joins the University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) on the list of suitors for Wilson.
H.S. Baseball: Holland named 19-A MVP
After edging Kerens for the District 19-A baseball title, the Cayuga baseball team was well-represented on the 19-A all-district team released this week.
Star pitcher Chantz Holland was named the district’s MVP after yet another standout season. The Vernon College-bound Holland was the team’s ace pitcher and also its most reliable hitter.
H.S. Baseball Playoffs: Elkhart relying on experience during playoff run
After being pushed to the brink of elimination in each of its first two playoff series, the Elkhart baseball team took care of business with ease in the regional quarterfinals.
The Elks defeated Warren in the best-of-three series, 2-0, by a combined score of 11-1.
But, ironically, EHS coach John Adair credited being pushed to the brink in the first round with the team’s ability to pull it all together as the Elks’ playoff run keeps going.
H.S. Baseball Playoffs: Elkhart's Cheatham sets national triples record
Earlier in the postseason, Elkhart star third baseman Jacob Cheatham legged out his 17th triple of the 2013 season.
It was an important one.
With the hit, Cheatham passed Steve Kopepasah and Alex Ortiz for the national record for triples in a season, according to the National Federation of High School associations.
H.S. Athletics: Holden named new Cayuga ISD athletic director
It took just over a month for Cayuga ISD to find their new athletic director.
In a school board meeting Monday, the Cayuga school board hired current CHS assistant coach Russell Holden as its new athletic director and head football coach.
Holden, who has been on the staff at Cayuga for five years, will replace Greg Jenkins, who after three years at the helm is leaving for Tenaha.
Middle School Athletics: Palestine selects March, April 'Character Athletes'
The Palestine Junior High girls athletic program released their Character Athletes of the Month for both March and April recently.
Eighth graders Annalise Meyers (March) and Josie Soehnge (April), and seventh graders Madison Oliva (March) and Ashley Middleton were honored with the awards, which go to student athletes that lead not only on the field or court, but also in the classroom.
H.S. Softball Playoffs: Grapeland scores early and often in semifinal clincher
Just like in game one, the Grapeland Sandiettes jumped out to a big lead during Saturday's decisive Game 3 against the Joaquin.
The only difference is this time the Sandiettes never let off the gas on their way to a dominant 12-2 win over the Lady Rams in the do-or-die regional semifinal game.
With the win, Grapeland moves on to its third regional final in four years, where they will take on Beckville. It’s the third-straight year the teams will meet in the postseason.
H.S. Baseball Playoffs: Elkhart eases past Warren in Game 2
After needing three games to end its first two playoff series this postseason, the Elkhart baseball team made sure it didn’t happen a third time.
The Elks — who are seeking a second-straight trip to the state tournament — rolled past Warren Saturday, 6-0, at Lufkin’s Morris Franks Park. The win came a night after Elkhart topped the Warriors, 5-1, to open the series on Friday.
H.S. Softball Playoffs: Grapeland, Joaquin split games Friday
It was a tale of two games during Friday's Regional Semifinal between the Grapeland Sandiettes and Joaquin Lady Rams. The Sandiettes and Lady Rams combined for 22 runs in the Sandiettes 12-10 win in Game 1.
Game 2 was a much different as the teams wouldn't combine for 20 hits, or even 10 runs as the Lady Rams picked up a 4-2 win.
H.S. Football: Palestine's Owens leads strong class of area recruits
Palestine junior Jarrell Owens hasn’t ever played a significant down in a game for the Wildcats at linebacker in his football career.
Yet, the position is obviously where his future lies.
Owens is one of a handful of area juniors drawing significant college interest, and the Palestine running back/linebacker already holds an official offer from Texas Tech University.
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