In a battle for the second seed representing District 12-3A in the state playoffs, the Alba-Golden Lady Panthers took an early 5-3 lead over the Mineola Lady Jackets on a pair of free throws by Ashlyn Rogers and never looked back. The Lady Panthers maintained a lead throughout the game which they won 59-47 Friday night in Quitman.
The win set up bi-district (UIL first round) games against teams from District 11-3A. Alba-Golden took on Dallas Madison while Mineola faced Life Oak Cliff after Monitor press time Monday night.
The district champion Edgewood played Hampton Prep and fourth place team Scurry-Rosser tangled with the 11-3A champion Sunnyvale Lady Raiders Monday.
In the first quarter with that 5-3 lead, sophomore Lady Panther Sammi Rambsel swished a triple from the left corner to put Alba-Golden ahead 8-3. A put back by Alba-Golden’s Kenzie Chadwick made it 10-3, but Mineola freshman Tahjae Black hit a short jump shot her. Teammate Meghan Brewington made a pair of free throws to cut the Lady Panther lead to 10-7.
The Lady Panthers then responded with a bucket from Lindsey Roberts and Mineola’s Sabria Dean got her first bucket on a 10-foot bank shot to make it a 16-11 first quarter score with Alba-Golden leading.
Alba-Golden opened up a 20-11 advantage on a put back after an offensive rebound by Ginny Carson and bucket by Chadwick. Dean put in a long triple to cut the Lady Panther lead to 20-14 with 5:38 left in the half.
A Grace Bizzell bucket gave Alba-Golden a 24-14 lead, but the Lady Jackets cut the lead to 24-20 on three points each from Dean and Black. The Lady Panthers ended the quarter with a 7-0 run on a pair of free throws from Chadwick, a triple from Rambsel and a buzzer beating layup by Bizell. The Lady Panthers took a 31-20 lead in to the halftime break.
Alba-Golden opened up their largest lead at the end of the third quarter taking a 47-31 advantage into the final eight minutes.
Mineola Coach Tony Riley then decided to go to a pressure defense to speed up the pace, which seemed to favor the play of Dean, Black, Brewington and Tiara Stephens. The Lady Jackets cut the deficit to an eight points at 53-45 after buckets by Vanessa Spurgeon, Brewington and Black, but could not get any closer.
The Lady Panthers slowed the ball down, forcing Mineola to foul. In the final three minutes of play, the Lady Panther’s Carson, Bizell and Ashlyn Rogers combined for 6-10 free throws to thwart the Mineola comeback attempt.
Alba-Golden spent much of the second half at the free throw line using ball control to force Mineola into fouling situations as the Lady Jackets had to play from behind on the scoreboard. After going 7-9 from the charity stripe in the first half, the Lady Panthers were 17-28 in the second half, ending the contest going 24-37 from the line. Mineola hit 13-21 from the foul line for the game.
The Lady Panthers consistently drove the lane into defensive traffic, were fouled and went to the line. Alba-Golden made one fourth quarter shot from the field, a long three-pointer by Bizell, but they hit on 9-16 final quarter charity tosses. Alba-Golden used a balanced offensive attack, Rogers had 15, Rambsel added 12, Bizell poured in 11 and Chadwick scored 10 to lead the way.
Mineola got 21 points from Dean and 11 points from Black.
With the win Alba-Golden wins the season series 2 to 1 with both teams winning on their home floor and A-G winning the neutral site game Friday night.