Two equally focused and seasoned basketball teams met in Mineola on Friday night to determine the top spot in 3A District 12. The Edgewood Lady Bulldogs topped the Lady Jackets in a classic battle, 49–42.
The Lady Jackets got off to a solid start. Jessiah Riley hit the first points of the night on an old school mid-range jumper off the glass. A Riley assist to Tiara Stephens and a Cyndi Butler 3-pointer put Mineola up 7–6.
Mineola built a six-point advantage early behind consistent play of Riley and a sizable rebounding advantage. The Lady Jackets were able to sneak out a deep runner and capitalize on fast break points off of defensive rebounds to build that advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs came back with 3-point bomb and a harassing defense to take the lead 17–16 just before the half. A three-point play on a successful breakaway gave Edgewood a four-point advantage at the half 20-16.
Mineola entered a bit of a funk as the second half got underway. Their passes were a split-second late, the teamwork and communications off just enough. The Lady Bulldogs were winning the scramble for loose balls. Edgewood took advantage, building as much as a 15-point lead late into the third quarter. A series of nice plays by Sabria Dean closed the gap to 10 points at the end of three quarters, and gave the hometown crowd hope.
It was time for a comeback – and time was running out. The score stood 44–32 midway through final stanza. Dean provided a trigger in the form of a beautiful 3-pointer, which cut the deficit to 9 points, 44–35. Tahjae Black then put an offensive rebound back in to make it 44–37 with 1:56 to play. An inside bucket from Dean made it a five-point game with just over a minute to play.
A 3-pointer from Butler closed the gap further with only 30 seconds remaining. It was a four point game, 46–42. But the comeback was not to be on this night. The Lady Jackets just did not bring their best game; it wasn’t their night.
Two turnovers then sealed Mineola’s fate, as Edgewood drew the fouls in the final minute and converted their free throws. The final was Edgewood 49–42.