The El Campo Ladybirds picked off pass after pass, beating the Booker T. Washington Lady Eagles 55-37, at Brookshire Royal High School Thursday night in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
El Campo’s senior shooting guard Mya Shorter led all scorers with 23 points, doing most of her damage streaking down the court, catching passes, and making layups after the defense forced a turnover or got a rebound.
“We watched film and we noticed they had trouble getting back on defense,” Shorter said. “(We) worked together to get the ball in quick, don’t lollygag and hustle down the court at all times.”
Shorter got the job done scoring on offense, but she also made numerous passes to set others up for easy shots and layups. One pass came as two defenders cut off her lane to the basket. Ladybird senior post V’Nisha Malone cut to the rim, caught a pass from Shorter through the double-team and scored on a wide-open layup.
“Shorter was great offensively and defensively too,” Ladybirds coach Denise Anderson said. “Overall she did great. She was a great leader on the court when I needed her to be.”
El Campo’s defense blitzed Washington early. The Ladybirds held Washington to tough shot attempts and forced four steals in their first nine possessions. The offense capitalized and rushed out to a 9-0 lead.
The Ladybirds defense stayed aggressive with senior point guard Jackie Nichols and Shorter trapping the ball.
Washington pulled within 15-6 with two minutes left in the first. Shorter nailed two threes to close the quarter to lead by nine. From the two minutes left in the first through the end of the first half, the Ladybirds defense allowed eight points. The offense was more muted in the second quarter, but still scored double-digit points stretching their lead to 18 points at the half.
“We watched video and we worked on what we saw (to prepare),” Anderson said. “We still had some mistakes and we had some errors that we’re going to have to fix, but overall we were able to get it done and get it done early.”
With no answer for the Ladybirds’ first-team offense or defense, Anderson was able to work in her younger players and other seniors to finish Thursday’s game.
Going into their playoff game, the Ladybirds were able to have a rest day, which Anderson credited as helpful after playing three games a week for the last three weeks. Against Washington, she was able to rest her players more than normal with the large lead built.
Scoring- Shorter 23 points, Nichols 9, Malone 8, Tia Hearse 4, Alanah Terrell 3, Melanie Nunez 2, Stefany Flota 2 and Trinatee Roberts 2.
On deck for the Ladybirds will be their toughest test of the season. In the second round, El Campo will meet the number one team in the state, the Hardin-Jefferson Lady Hawks.
Hardin-Jefferson last season went five rounds deep in the playoffs. Last year the Ladybirds lost in the second round to Fredericksburg who made the state championship game. The Ladybirds kept it a close game at the half before Fredericksburg ended up winning big.
El Campo brought back their whole team from last year’s loss, with eight seniors they hope to extend their season.
“If keep our head in the game, keep a good attitude and keep our composure and have a good mindset we can really go far if we (want) to do it,” Shorter said.