SLOCUM – A competitive contest in the gold bracket championship game went in favor of Neches as the Lady Tigers outlasted the Frankston Maidens, 42-36, in Saturday’s duel.
Saturday’s championship match was nothing short of a chess match between two good defensive-minded teams. Both sides had a combined 26 steals with Brianna Looney recording six of those for the Maidens.
Scoring was limited in the first quarter as the game sat tied at five heading into the second.
The defensive game continued into the second. it wasn’t until the 6:30 mark of the second quarter where Sealy Hines scored the first basket of the period from a wing triple. Looney scored four of the next five points for Frankston as they trailed 11-10. Neches cashed in on their second three of the game as Mallory Main found Joely Jenkins on the wing that helped them take a 14-10 lead in half.
The second half proved to be more explosive than the defensive exhibition we saw through the first two quarters. Jenkins had the hot hand for the Lady Tigers – splashing her second three of the game to start the third quarter. Back-to-back baskets from Kelsey Sexton reduced Neches’ lead to four before an and-one conversion from Mallory Main extended their lead back to seven.
Frankston continued to rely on Sexton as she scored the first six points of the quarter for the Maidens. Wila Davis got the Maidens back within four as a tough layup fell through the net while she was being fouled. Davis stepped to the line and sunk the ensuing free throw.
Neches had their response ready as Aubrey Kincaide recorded her first three of the night from the right-wing to increase their lead back to seven. The three-point display continued as Jenkins added three more to her stat book to give the Lady Tigers their largest lead of the night, 30-20.
The Maidens got a couple of free-throw attempts down the stretch – going 3-of-4 from the line – as they trailed 30-23 heading into the final quarter.
The first four minutes of the fourth quarter saw the Maidens rally back from the 10-point deficit they saw at the tail end of the third. Looney went 3-of-4 from the line to start the quarter to pull them within four. Ja’shalyn Hatton recorded her fourth steal of the night that led to an easy layup on the opposite end. Sexton’s eighth second-half point finally tied the game at 30 with 3:13 left in the contest.
As momentum sided heavily in favor of Frankston until Jenkins scored the next five points for Neches. It began with a tough finish around the rim that resulted in an and-one conversion at the line. Jenkins found herself at the line again on their next possession – going 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
Another pair of free throws from Kacie Trimble capped off Neches’ 7-0 run. Wila Davis scored five of Frankston’s final six points, though the clock was against them as they fell by six.
Neches’ Jenkins finished as the game’s leading scorer with 17 points, three assists, and two steals. Hines led the Lady Tigers in rebounds with nine.
For Frankston, Davis led them with 10 points. Looney finished with nine points, six steals, five rebounds, and three assists.