By JUSTIN RAINS
On Saturday, for the third time this season, the Slocum and Lovelady girls’ basketball teams will face-off on the court.
The pair of teams split their first two meetings, hence the need for the third. On the line: The District 20-A, Division I title.
More importantly, possibly, will be the right to not face top-ranked Martin’s Mill in the area round of the playoffs.
The Lady Mustangs, who find themselves ranked eighth in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) poll, fell to the Lady Lions (ranked No. 16) in the two team’s first matchup.
That game, in Lovelady, ended with the Lady Mustangs on the wrong end of a 53-41 final score. It’s one of only two losses Slocum has suffered all year.
In the rematch at Slocum, it was all Lady Mustangs.
Behind 23 points from Valerie Larkin and 17 more from Landry Lane, the Lady Mustangs led from wire-to-wire, snapping Lovelady’s almost six year district winning streak.
While the winner of the game gets a bye and awaits the winner of the Harleton/Wortham bi-district game, the loser of the game will play Axtell, which finished third in District 19-A, Division I.
PALESTINE VS. GROESBECK
5 p.m. Saturday in Fairfield
A district title isn’t on the line when Palestine and Groesbeck square-off for the third time this season Saturday. Instead, a spot in the postseason is.
With Fairfield and Mexia occupying the top-two spots in District 19-3A, the Ladycats and Lady Goats will meet to determine who gets the district’s final playoff spot.
The two team’s split their season series, with each team winning on its home court.
Groesbeck earned a 57-54 win Jan. 11 over Palestine, which came back with a 49-39 victory over the Lady Goats 18 days later.
That game is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Fairfield High School.
Coolidge at NECHES
6 p.m. Saturday
Even with the graduation of four starters and a move up in classification, the Neches girls’ basketball team can once again call itself district champions.
The Lady Tigers finished the season 19-12, with a 9-1 mark in District 21-A, Division I.
The three-time defending state champions in 1A, Division II will open the playoffs next week in the area round against the winner of the bi-district round game between Dallardsville Big Sandy and Broaduss. Time, date and location for that game will be determined next week.
The Lady Tigers will host Coolidge in a warm-up game Saturday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.