Lipan storms back to state tournament

February 26, 2014

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TYLER – Lipan coach Amber Branson paused in the middle of Saturday’s post-game interview following an 80-40 romp over Strawn in the Class A Division II Region III basketball finals at Tyler Junior College.

She stood silent for a second as a tear escaped her eye and slowly made its way down her face, soon followed by another.

“My dad would be proud,” she said. “He loved this team. He loved these girls.”

Her father passed away early in the season. He was, like everyone in the small community 20 miles northwest of Granbury, a longtime Lipan basketball fan.

And the Lady Indians have given him plenty of which to be proud this season, including Saturday’s dismantling of District 17-A rival Strawn. It gave the girls their third state tournament berth in four seasons.

The Lady Indians (36-1), No. 1 in the state, will face No. 3 Nazareth (34-2) in the state semifinals Friday at 7 p.m.. The other semifinal will pair No. 2 Roscoe Highland (28-3) and Calvert (24-1), with the winners meeting Saturday night at 7. All games are at the Frank Erwin Center on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.

After advancing to state in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, Lipan senior Shauna Coleman admits that she came to expect a trip to Austin this time each season.

Then came last season and the shocking third-round exit from the playoffs at the hands of Coolidge.

So when she and the Lipan Lady Indians secured their return, Coleman couldn’t find enough people to hug.

“I wanted this more than anybody can imagine,” she said. “Third time’s a charm.”

Coleman was referencing that the previous two times the Lady Indians reached state they were defeated in the semifinals and then the finals – both times by Neches, which was in the midst of a three-year title run.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times, everybody says that, but we just came out today knowing what was on the line and did what we had to do,” said senior Tallen Halliday, who led Lipan with a career-high 23 points.

Sophomore Lanie Roberts scored 22 points for the Lady Indians, along with 11 rebounds, six steals and four assists. Coleman scored 10 points with eight boards and a pair of blocks.

Lipan defeated Strawn in their two District 17-A meetings, 69-44 and 73-51.

The Lady Indians have won 36 straight games since losing the season opener 66-62 to Brock, which is in Austin this weekend going for a sixth consecutive Class 2A title. In that win streak, the closest any team has come to Lipan is 16 points (65-49 over Bowie).

In topping Strawn, the Lady Indians used a 36-3 run to build their lead to 50-13 after the Lady Greyhounds had pulled within 14-10.

“I hadn’t had a really good game, in my opinion, since last year,” said Halliday. “My 3s, I could tell, were clicking.”

Halliday had three of her team’s 10 baskets from 3-point range.

“That is unbelievable. What a great performance,” said Branson of Halliday’s game.

SEMIFINALS

LIPAN 75

YANTIS 40

Despite all her success with the Lady Indians, Roberts had never played in a regional tournament. She made her first game memorable.

Roberts scored 26 points with 11 rebounds, 10 steals and six assists. Coleman added a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

“I was so excited. I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like,” said Roberts after. “We were all prepared. We all got a good night’s sleep.”

It showed as the Lady Indians looked ready and rested as they raced out to a 27-4 lead after the first quarter. Yantis (22-11) pulled within 35-23 at one time in the second quarter, but Lipan responded with another 27-4 run.

“Yantis is a good team, and when they got within 12 that showed us we had to keep playing and apply even more pressure,” said Branson.

MORE pressure? That’s like asking a steamroller to make something even more flat.

Yantis was 1-for-18 from the field in the third quarter. Strawn had a similar showing in the second quarter, going 1-for-14.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Roberts. “I want to play at state so bad.”

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Class A Division II Region III Girls Basketball Tournament, at Tyler Junior College

Semifinals

Lipan 27 17 18 13 – 75

Yantis 4 19 4 13 – 40

Lipan (35-1) scoring – Lanie Roberts 26, Shauna Coleman 17, Tallen Halliday 9, Bryanna Phelps 9, Kayla Wheeler 8, Shelby Bontke 4, Taylor Herrera 2.

Yantis (22-11) scoring – Jesey Wetzel 25, Angelica Sandoval 9, Destiny Garcia 3, Molly Bell 2, Jennie Shoemaker 1.

3-pointers – Lipan: Roberts 3, Phelps 1, Halliday 1. Yantis: Wetzel 1, Sandoval 1.

Rebound leaders – Lipan: Coleman 16, Roberts 11. Yantis: Wetzel 10.

Lipan assist leader – Roberts 6.

Lipan steal leaders – Roberts 10, Phelps 5.

Lipan block leaders – Coleman 3, Roberts 2.

2-point FG – Lipan 27-48 (56 percent). Yantis 13-29 (45 percent).

3-point FG – Lipan 6-15 (40 percent). Yantis 2-27 (7 percent).

Free throws – Lipan 4-7 (57 percent). Yantis 8-13 (62 percent).

Total rebounds – Lipan 41 (12 offensive). Yantis 27 (6 offensive).

Turnovers – Lipan 20. Yantis 24.

Championship

Lipan 21 18 28 13 – 80

Strawn 11 2 13 14 – 40

Lipan (36-1) scoring – Halliday 23, Roberts 22, Coleman 10, Wheeler 8, Kylee Cross 7, Herrera 5, Phelps 3, Bontke 2.

Strawn (22-10) scoring – Jayde Price 21, Jacqueline Berumen 6, Cidney Pollock 5, Shelly Abbott 4, Eva DeGregorio 3, Kallie Hodgkins 1.

3-pointers – Lipan: Halliday 3, Roberts 2, Coleman 2, Herrera 1, Cross 1, Phelps 1. Strawn: Berumen 2, Pollock 1, Price 1.

Rebound leaders – Lipan: Roberts 11, Coleman 8. Strawn: Tearany Atkins 8, Price 7.

Lipan assist leader – Roberts 4.

Lipan steal leaders – Roberts 6, Herrera 3.

Lipan block leader – Coleman 2.

2-point FG – Lipan 21-42 (50 percent). Strawn 10-24 (42 percent).

3-point FG – Lipan 10-19 (53 percent). Strawn 4-22 (18 percent).

Free throws – Lipan 8-11 (72 percent). Strawn 8-13 (62 percent).

Total rebounds – Lipan 36 (10 offensive). Strawn 25 (5 offensive).

Turnovers – Lipan 18. Strawn 25.

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Category: Lipan Sports Archived, Sports Archived