Down 14-2 to start the game, the Bridge City Lady Cardinals amped things up fought the good fight that they put forth all year to rally back for a 61-58 Class 3A Region III regional quarterfinal win over the Sweeny Lady Bulldogs Tuesday night at Channelview High School.
The next destination for the Lady Cardinals (33-5) will be a trip to the 3A Region III Tournament at Sam Houston State University Friday at 6:15 p.m. against Fairfield.
The Lady Bulldogs (17-17) were a formidable foe and used their size to their benefit against BC but it was the Lady Cardinals’ quickness that wore down Sweeny.
Trailing 30-28 at the half and with leading scorer Alex Henry’s 16 first-half points sitting on the bench to start the second half, the Lady Cardinals answered the bell in the third to pull away.
“We may down but the Lady Cardinals are never out,” said BC coach Jennifer Willis. “They (Sweeny) were incredibly big inside but I really believe our speed and our pressure wore them down. That third quarter was just so huge for us.”
“Super Sub” Kayla Bratton, who scored 14 points, chimed in with 10 points and two three-pointers alone in the third quarter.
Point guard Caylin Choate, played her usual feisty game and found her way to 12 points and five rebounds. She teamed up with Bratton for 15 points in the third quarter as the Lady Cardinals went on a 20-8 tear to lead 48-38 going to the fourth period.
“Kayla Bratton was amazing off the bench tonight and she’s been doing that all year for us,” said Willis. “Caylin (Choate) is a true point guard in every sense of the word and she got it done scoring and on defense.”
The Lady Bulldogs, however, wouldn’t go away.
The Lady Cardinals led 61-52 with just 0:39 left but Sweeny, behind post Urshel Tims, made it look closer at the end with three late baskets.
Tims and post teammate Crystal Griggs each had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs. Miah Wright finished with nine points and five boards while Jada McKnight added eight rebounds.
Sweeny outrebounded BC 45-36 but the Lady Cardinals got even on the defensive end, forcing a whopping 30 turnovers while committing just 18 of their own.
Henry finished with a team-high 18 points for the Lady Cardinals and had five rebounds. Kelsey Fults had five points and yanked down a game-high 12 rebounds. Kasey Frederick had five points and seven boards while Bailee Bacon had five points and an outstanding defensive game.
“Alexus had a great game considering she barely played half of it,” said Willis. “She was heading for a big night. I’m just super proud of all the kids. I thought Fults and Frederick really hit the boards for us in the second half and Bacon was outstanding on defense throughout.”
Down 14-2, BC whittled away at the lead as Henry scored eight of 10 points, leading BC on a 10-2 run to get to within 16-12 at the end of the first.
Henry tallied eight more points in the second period but was whistled for her fourth foul with 0:38 left in the half.
BC finished 17-of-27 from the free-throw line while Sweeny converted 12-of-23.
BC’s 21-3A district rival Hamshire-Fannett will join the Lady Cardinals at regionals after defeating Hardin-Jefferson Tuesday. H-F will take on state-ranked No. 1 Waco LaVega in the other semifinal at SHSU at 8:15 p.m.