Lady Jackets whip Rains 59-39

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The Mineola Lady Jackets broke free from the Rains Lady Wildcats and went on to a 59-39 win to remain undefeated in district play. The competitive matchup remained tightly contested until just before the half, when Mineola junior Sabria Dean had a magic minute that broke the game open.

The Lady Jackets started strong with an opening 3-pointer by Cyndi Butler followed by a Kelsey Brewington 3-pointer.The back-and-forth contest featured man-to-man full-court pressure from both sides. Each team was adept at handling the pressure, breaking the opposing press up the middle of the court.

Just before the expiration of the first quarter, Rains transitioned briefly into a zone defense, but the Lady Jackets adapted. At the end of the first quarter Rains held a 14-12 advantage. The Lady Jackets missed a number of close-in shots in the opening minutes while Rains was able to drive to the basket despite a hustling Mineola defense.

Mineola weathered a brief scoring drought until Kelsey Brewington scored after a Sabria Dean steal. Sophomore Tahjae Black then scored on an inside move after another Dean assist, tying the score at 16. The score went back and forth until 2:51 seconds left in the half when Mineola went up 20–19 courtesy of a Dean bucket.

With the Lady Jackets up 23–21 and the first half drawing to a close, Sabria Dean went on a run. In consecutive action she scored from the wing, stole the ball, hit a three, scored a deuce, took a charging foul, scored another jumper and hit a three to beat the buzzer. That burst of productivity put the Lady Jackets up 35–21 at the half, and broke the back of the visiting Wildcats.

The Lady Jackets tightened their defense in the second half and began denying those routes to the basket which Rains exploited in the first half. That and improved inside play by the Lady Jackets in the front court kept the lead hovering around 16 points.

Of specific note was a possession in which Mineola moved the ball around the perimeter and back through the lane with an outstanding series of passes: Riley to Brewington to Butler to Black to Riley for the score. Very nice.

A smooth move in the lane by Dean put the Jackets up by 20, 46– 26 as frustration began to affect the Wildcats. At the end of the third, Lady Jacket junior Chloe Cormier was grabbed as she went up for a shot and was thrown to the floor. After converting both free throws Cormier put Mineola up 48–27 going into the final stanza.

The fourth quarter was, as could be expected, a lot of loose play. There were, however, positive outcomes for Mineola, namely their rebounding and floor positioning. Of note, the fourth-quarter contributions of junior Jessiah Riley ensured Rains had no hope of a comeback.

Sabria Dean had another stellar performance with over 30 points and incredible court awareness. The Lady Jackets chalked up the win, 59-39, and will be travelling to Alba-Golden High school for their next district challenge.

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