Thursday, April 25, 2024

Hot-shooting and upset-minded Nocona sent Lipan packing

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McKINNEY—Hot-shooting and upset-minded Nocona made history here on Saturday, leading start to finish in a 50-41 win over top-ranked and defending 2A state champion Lipan at McKinney North High School in the girls Class 2A Region II final.

For the first time in the modern UIL era, Nocona is in the final four. Coach Kyle Spitzer’s team will play at either 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome.

Nocona (34-3) connected on eight first-half three pointers and built a lead as big as 16 points early in the third quarter. Lipan, seeking its eighth state tournament in 13 years, pulled to within four points (43-39) on Taylor Branson’s lay-in with 2:42 remaining.

But senior guard Skyler Smith, who sank all eight fourth-quarter free throws in Friday’s semifinal win over Muenster, converted five of six in the final quarter and led all scorers with 19. Megyn Meekins, who had 28 on Friday, was limited to 11 but continuously beat the relentless pressure of Branson and her teammates.

Nocona raced out to a 16-4 lead on a pair of three-pointers by Regan Phipps and a long-range bomb by Meekins. Smith connected on three straight three-pointers, including a friendly bouncer, midway through the second quarter for a 32-18 lead.

Girls Class 2A Region II final

At McKinney North High School

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024

Score by quarter

Nocona              16          18          7             9             --            50

Lipan                   8             13          9             11          --            41

NOCONA (50)

Megyn Meekins 11, Skyler Smith 19, Reagan Phipps 11, Avery Crutsinger 3, Abree Kleinhans 6. Three-pointers: Meekins, Smith (3), Phipps (3), Kleinhans. Fouled out: None.

LIPAN (41)

Taylor Branson 10, Olivia Benitez 2, Kynzi Calloway 3, Ashlyn Clark 14, Finley Shockley 12. Three-pointers: Branson, Clark, Shockley (4). Fouled out: Callaway.