H-P Sports Editor

The Slocum Lady Mustangs will have a tall challenge tonight in their Class A, Division I, Region III semifinal playoff game.

Slocum will face Sulpher Springs North Hopkins, which has a 6-4 post player, at 7 p.m. today at John Tyler High School in Tyler.

“We have not played anyone with her size,” Slocum head coach Barry Gill said of North Hopkins’ post player. “For the most part against taller players, we have done a good job getting backside help but this one will be a challenge.”

The challenge will start with how to slow down a taller opponent on offense.

“We have to try and limit her touches and we have to block out and limit the offensive rebounds,” Gill said. “On defense we need to make their lesser players beat us.”

While Slocum may have a game plan intact for defense against a taller player, on offense, the Lady Mustangs may have to wait until game time to see what North Hopkins is going to do with its post player.

“We are going to have to wait to see if they play her inside or they play man-to-man and we can pull her outside,” Gill said. “In the playoffs, game time adjustments are bigger than usual because you do not have the scouting reports like in district.”

North Hopkins reached the regional semifinals with a 68-65 win over Avery in the first round and then defeated Lindsay 59-41 Friday night.

For the Lady Mustangs, the road to the regional semifinals has been paved by their defense as Slocum defeated Burkeville 43-26 and Mount Enterprise 56-35.

The Slocum defense starts with the press which was effective Friday night in taking Mount Enterprise out of its offensive rhythm.

“The press has been a staple for us,” Gill said. “The thing about our press is it is bend but don’t break. We are not quite aggressive as some, but we do not give up easy points if the press is broken.”

Slocum also got some defensive support from its bench Friday night as a couple of Lady Mustang starters got into foul trouble.

“If you want to win you have to have a good bench,” Gill said. “Our girls off the bench are not asked to come in and score 20 points but just asked to play the structure of the team.”

For most of the season, including the two playoff games, Slocum’s top offensive threat has been Julie Bowman. The Slocum guard scored 28 points in the win over Mount Enterprise as she made 12 field goals, including a pair of three pointers.

Kathryn Johnson added a double-double against Mount Enterprise with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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