By SCOTT TYLER
H-P Sports Editor
JACKSONVILLE — Slocum head coach Barry Gill entered Friday night’s Class A, Division I, Region III area round playoff game against Mount Enterprise worried about the Ladycats’ press.
By the end of the game, it was Mount Enterprise who was worried about the press.
The Slocum Lady Mustangs had no problem with the press but gave Mount Enterprise a lot of problems with their press in a 56-35 win at Bob and Vivian Smith Gymnasium on the Lon Morris College campus.
“I thought our press was really effective,” Gill said. “I do not know if we got that many steals off the press, but we kept them out of rhythm and bothered them with the press.”
The Slocum press was just part of a tough-nosed defense the Lady Mustangs played against Mount Enterprise. Slocum gave the Ladycats very few open looks and held Mount Enterprise to only 25 points through three quarters.
“I thought the key tonight was our defense,” Gill said. “We did a good job playing our half-court man and we were trying to make them take some tough shots while not fouling.”
Even when Slocum (28-5) did get into some foul trouble, the Lady Mustang bench helped out.
“We were able to survive the foul trouble because the girls off the bench came in and did a great job on defense,” Gill said.
While the Slocum press took Mount Enterprise out of sync, the same could not be said for the Ladycat press. Slocum only turned the ball over once off the press and had several breakaway opportunities.
“The key for us against their press was to get the ball in bounds,” Gill said. “We had a few shaky moments, but overall we did what we needed to do.”
Slocum’s Julie Bowman, like she has most of the year, led the Lady Mustangs on offense, scoring a game-high 28 points. Kathryn Johnson added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Slocum led by five points with less than a minute to play in the first half when Bowman hit a 10-foot pullup jumper and then with less than a second left, Bowman was fouled in the open court and made both free throws, giving Slocum a 25-16 lead at halftime.
Mount Enterprise opened the second half by scoring the first four points to get within five, but it would be the closest the Ladycats would get.
Slocum used a 12-0 run as part of a 17-2 run in a five minute span in the third quarter to open up the game.
“After they scored to start the half, we kept our composure, hit a few shots and got some breathing room,” Gill said.
The scoring run started when Slocum broke the press as Bowman found Johnson for a basket.
A three pointer from Bowman gave Slocum its first double-digit lead of the game, 30-20. The three pointer started a run of seven straight points by Bowman, which included an acrobatic shot, as she drove into the lane, splitting a pair of defenders, and then made an underhand five-foot shot.
Slocum increased its lead to 37-20 when Leah O’Dell drove into the lane and made a reverse layup while getting fouled. O’Dell completed the three-point play with the free throw.
A three pointer by Shonda Fletcher have Slocum a 20-point lead and then Bowman ended the 17-2 run with a bank shot from the paint.
Slocum will advance to the regional semifinals where the Lady Mustangs will play the winner of Sulpher Springs North Hopkins and Lindsay. The two teams played Friday night at Farmersville.
Scott Tyler may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
By SCOTT TYLER