Mineola girls defeat Bells in playoffs
The 49-35 Lady Jacket victory over the Bells Panthers last Tuesday sent Mineola on to the regional tournament as one of the four best teams in 3A, Region 2. The win was, by any measure, a bit of a wrestling match. Not only did the two teams wrestle with each other, but they each had to overcome team struggles.
One could anticipate that unfamiliarity may have caused issues for each team in the first quarter, and it did. Bells was not accustomed to the quickness and closing defense of the Lady Jackets. Conversely, Mineola had to recalibrate its passing lanes due to the long-armed players from Grayson County.
There were two consistent features to the opening quarter: the frantic nature of the game and the presence of Sabria Dean. The Mineola stand-out was all over the court. She produced six of Mineola’s 10 points, had a steal, three blocks and two assists.
She continued that tempo in the second quarter, pouring in 16 of Mineola’s 19 points. Additionally, she secured three steals, a block and a save.
Bells was clearly unnerved by the Jackets in the first half. They could not find their tempo or their shooting range. Their most adept ball-handler, senior Haley Arledge, attempted to do too much and got herself in early foul trouble.
With Dean scoring at will, the Lady Jackets went to the half leading 29-14. All seemed in order.
Sometime during half, the cover was placed over the Mineola goal. The Lady Jackets made two shots from the field in the third quarter, as multiple shots and offensive rebound put-backs went awry. Going into the fourth quarter, Bells was still down 11 points but had re-established the momentum.
Consecutive baskets closed the gap to a 6-point difference at the midway point of the final quarter. The Lady Jackets closed when they needed to. They ended the game on a 10-2 run to book their date in Prosper.
During the Bells comeback and Mineola scoring drought of the second half, it was the well-executed inbound plays which kept the Lady Jackets afloat. Cyndi Butler hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter off of inbound plays, and Meghan Brewington scored a jumper from the key in the fourth quarter off an inbound play. The importance of these plays illustrated the complete game the Jackets are capable of playing.