University High pressure sparks win

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDU-High's Di'Mond Jackson shoots over Doyle's Jessica Nesom in a Class 2A quarterfinal playoff game Monday night.
Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDU-High's Di'Mond Jackson shoots over Doyle's Jessica Nesom in a Class 2A quarterfinal playoff game Monday night.

Top-seeded University High used its smothering press to take control early in its Class 2A girls basketball quarterfinal playoff game Monday night against No. 8 Doyle.

The pressure took Doyle out of its game, and the Tigers never recovered as University posted a 75-47 win at University High.

The final score nearly matched University’s 74-47 in the 2012 regional round, and advances the Cubs (30-6) to the semifinals, where they will face John Curtis, a 62-51 winner over Lake Arthur.

DiMond Jackson led the Cubs with 22 points. Alanie Fisher made four 3-pointers and finished with 21.

Doyle (27-7) got a game-high 26 points from Taylin Underwood, but she struggled in early when University took a 17-6 first-quarter lead.

“We got off to a bad start and could never recover from it,” said Doyle coach Guy McDonald, whose team committed 13 first-quarter turnovers.

In the second quarter, Doyle began
finding success taking the ball to the
basket and had chances at the free-throw line to cut into the University lead. But
the Tigers made just 9 of 19 free throws
in the first half and trailed 37-20 at
halftime.

Doyle got as close as 14 points early in the third quarter when Underwood scored five straight points. University responded with an 8-0 run, and the closest the Tigers got again was 19 points.

“I think (Doyle) did a very good job attacking the goal, finishing and making it to the free throw line,” University coach Bonita Johnson said. “I stopped counting after they made 20 free throws.”

Doyle made 24 of 39 free throws, taking advantage of 31 U-High fouls.

Doyle was whistled for 15 fouls as University went 13 for 18 at the foul line.

Neither team shot well in the first quarter, but University got off 21 shots from the floor, making eight. Doyle connected on 3 of 7 field-goal attempts.

University led 7-4 with 2:44 left in the first quarter and outscored Doyle 10-2 to take a 17-6 lead going into the second quarter.

Doyle’s Madison Watts, who finished with 11 points, was fouled on a drive early in the second but missed both free throws. The Tigers’ Belle Rayner grabbed the rebound and scored, but the missed free throws were a theme throughout the quarter.

Rayner hit one of two free throws at the 4:51 mark pulling Doyle within
19-12. University then outscored Doyle 15-3 in the next three minutes.

Five Cubs scored during the run, which was highlighted by 3-pointers from Fisher and Makayla Bates.

Doyle missed its only field-goal attempt and only countered with 3 of 8 at the free-throw line.

Fisher and Underwood traded 3-point baskets in the final minute of the half, and University led 37-20 at halftime.

“We missed (10) free throws in the first half,” McDonald said. “If you make those, you’re competitive. If we’re more competitive in the first half, then I think we’d have had the opportunity to make a run in the second half.

“(University) does a good job. They’re very talented and they have a good team.”

University steadily increased its lead in the fourth quarter.

Jackson’s free throws helped the lead grow to 73-43 with two minutes left. Underwood and Watts had two points each as time ran down.

“In order to win this game, we had to come out with some intensity,” Johnson said. “We played well, and we didn’t come out flat.”