Celina shoots down Lady Cats en route to title


At the rate Celina was hitting 3-pointers at in the first half of the Sherman Holiday Invitational semifinals, any team would have trouble keeping pace.

That’s the situation Sherman’s girls were in on Saturday as the Class 3A No. 4-ranked Lady Bobcats drilled seven of 10 attempts from behind the arc to build a big lead en route to an 82-53 win against the Lady Bearcats.

“We were not the same team we were yesterday,” Sherman head coach Beth Tallant said. “We didn’t come out doing the things we were told to do and it wasn’t executed well.”

Junior KJ Stastny led four players in double figures for Celina with 17 points, followed by Kynese Davis with 16 and Sarah Cantu and Callie Wells with a dozen each. Davis added eight rebounds and a couple of steals.

The Lady Bobcats (17-4) closed out the championship later on Saturday with a 54-48 win over Plano, avenging a loss in pool play on Friday afternoon. Cantu and Wells each netted 17 for Celina, which jumped out to a 23-4 first-quarter lead before holding off the Lady Wildcats at the end.

Against Sherman, Celina dictated a slow tempo by using a 1-2-2 zone and preventing the Lady Cats from running.

“A lot of times we like to get up and down the floor,” Celina head coach Jordan Davis said. “But I know with Sherman, they’re harder for us to press, so we tried to slow it down and do some different things in halfcourt.”

Senior guard Sa’Liesha Hunter, who struggled in the two teams’ first meeting at Celina on Nov. 9, led Sherman (8-9) with a game-high 22 points and added five rebounds and two steals. Mary Kate Motley recorded a season-high 15 points with five boards as well, and Jayzhia Softly had 10 points for Sherman.

Right out of the gate, Celina started bombing away, and Wells’ 3-pointer right off the opening tip set the tone. Cantu, Stastny and Wells all added 3-pointers in rapid succession, and Sherman made just five baskets — four by Softly — to trail 30-13 at the end of the first period.

“The girls did knock down some big shots today, especially at the beginning to get us started,” coach Davis said. “Coming back after the break, you never know what you’re going to get. We’ve been in this gym a few times the past couple of days, so they kind of got a little bit used to it. They did a good job of making shots today.”

With two more 3s by Wells, Celina continued to pull away and led at the half, 49-23. Sherman never got closer than 23 points the rest of the way, on Hunter’s 3-pointer to open the second half.

“I always tell the girls, it’s not how big we are, it’s how big we play,” Tallant said. “I told the girls at halftime they’re shooting 80 percent from the 3-point line and we’re shooting 27 percent, and it can’t get any worse. I told them in the second half we have to come out and do better.”

Coach Davis said playing in the Sherman tournament will prepare Celina for District 10-3A play, which includes fellow state contenders Argyle and Frisco Lone Star.

“We knew we wanted to play in a tournament like this against bigger schools before district,” Davis said. “Our district is so tough. You’ve got to be ready every game. We tried to make our schedule to get us ready for that this year.”

Sherman, meanwhile, has six days to get ready to resume District 13-4A play on Friday afternoon at home against Lovejoy.

“There’s nothing to hang our heads about,” Tallant said. “We have to go out and start focusing on district and on Lovejoy. Celina’s a tough team, but we’ve got to get past it and look to the future and what’s more important.”

 

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