Valley Preps

Harris County girls clinch first playoff berth since 2001

David Mitchell

It wasn’t the type of performance Harris County coach Staffanie Ramsey will use as an example in the future for her Lady Tigers.

“It was ugly,” Ramsey said with a smile after the game. “But I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week.”

Harris County hung on for a 47-40 win over LaGrange in the Region 1-5A tournament, clinching a playoff berth for the first time since 2001. The win sets up a matchup Thursday at Carver in the region semifinals, but Ramsey said that just winning on Tuesday was the first step.

“This is the first step for us,” she said. “Hopefully, we can take some of the things we learned and play a little better going forward.”

The Lady Tigers scored just six points in a first period that was quiet for both offenses. There were turnovers, missed lay-ins in the paint and missed attempts from the charity stripe. Things got a little better offensively in the second quarter, but Harris County went into the break with only 17 points. Luckily, it had nearly pitched a shutout in the second quarter, allowing LaGrange just a single basket by Aryan Dozier to make it a four-point lead, 17-13, at the break.

After scoring just three points in the first half, though, Jessika Carter, the team’s second-leading scorer this season, finally started to find her groove. She knocked down a couple of short jumpers over the first minute and a half in the third quarter, and freshman Taziha Fanning, the team’s leading scorer, knocked down another to make it a 6-0 run and a 23-13 lead.

LaGrange got within two points early in the fourth quarter at 29-27 and again at 35-33, but Carter and Fanning led a 6-2 mini-run late to put the game away.

Carter finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds and a handful of key blocks to help the Lady Tigers to the 47-40 win. Taylor Keith added 12 and Fanning had 11 in the game.

“We were able to feed the ball inside, get a layup or two to get things going,” Ramsey said. “I thought we started to make some free throws, take care of the ball and slow the game down a little bit.”

She was quick to note that a performance of Tuesday’s quality would not be enough to beat Carver on Thursday. Carver is 22-3 on the season and went undefeated, 12-0, in region play this season, including wins of 78-44 and 68-51 over Harris County.

“We’ve got to come a lot stronger on Thursday than we did today, that’s for sure,” Ramsey said.

NORTHSIDE GIRLS 50, SHAW 33: The Northside girls pulled away late for a 50-33 win over Shaw on Tuesday in the Region 1-5A tournament. The win clinched a playoff berth for the Lady Patriots, who will face Columbus on Thursday at Carver in the semifinals. Shaw’s season came to an end with the loss.

Jasmine Herndon scored 16 points in the win for Northside, all of which came during the second half. With her help, the Lady Patriots went from a 16-13 halftime deficit to a 50-33 win.

Kayla Bonilla led Shaw in the loss with 21 points.

Tuesday at Northside

Harris County 6 11 12 18—47

LaGrange 11 2 10 17—40

Harris County (47)

Jessika Carter 15, Taylor Keith 12, Taziha Fanning 11, Dumas 6, Crowder 3.

LaGrange (40)

Aryan Dozier 19, Chiuaireia Strozier 10, Woodard 9, Emory 2.

Records: Harris County, 18-8; LaGrange, 9-14. Next: Harris County, Thursday vs. Carver; LaGrange, season over.

Tuesday at Northside

Shaw 9 7 6 11—33

Northside 4 9 14 23—50

Shaw (33)

Kayla Bonilla 21, Warner 5, Jackson 4, Snead 2, Jack 1.

Northside (50)

Jasmine Herndon 16, Gahagan 7, Jakes 6, Austin 6, Apiag 5, Allen 4, Je. Herndon 4, Woods 2.

Records: Shaw, 8-19; Northside, 18-6. Next: Shaw, season over; Northside, Thursday vs. Columbus at Carver.