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Lady Rangers knocked out by Lon Morris

By Gabriel D. Brooks gbrooks@news-journal.com
March 8, 2012 at 11 p.m.


TYLER - Lon Morris outscored Kilgore College by 12 points in the first half's final six minutes, then used a 25-7 start to the second half to put the Lady Rangers away in a 77-57 Region XIV Conference women's basketball tournament victory Thursday at Wagstaff Gymnasium.

After playing fourth-seeded Lon Morris (19-12) to four lead changes and two ties in the first 13 1/2 minutes, fifth-seeded Kilgore (16-13) went cold. Lon Morris closed the first half on an 18-6 run that gave the Ladycats a 31-19 halftime lead. Lon Morris held Kilgore to 30 percent first-half shooting to build the lead.

"We just never could recover," said Kilgore coach Roy Thomas. "All year long we have missed so many easy shots. Layups, short bank shots. In tournament time you've got to execute. You've got to hit those shots. If you don't, what happens to you is just what happened. You're going to get your butt kicked."

Lon Morris faces No. 1 seed Trinity Valley (30-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday in a conference semifinal. Trinity Valley routed eighth-seeded Panola 104-31 earlier Thursday as the NJCAA's No. 1 Lady Cards hit 16 three-pointers, 10 in the second half.

Leading 42-26 less than seven minutes into the second half, Lon Morris scored 14 unanswered points to take complete command of the game. Meghan Braeuer and Demetria Foreman capped the run with consecutive three-pointers for a 30-point lead, the Ladycats' largest of the day.

Thursday's game was the rubber match in the season series after Lon Morris blew out Kilgore 79-50 on Nov. 30, but fell home at 74-70 in overtime to the Lady Rangers on Feb. 1.

"We executed down there at Lon Morris," Thomas said. "I told (the players), Lon Morris has one outstanding player. The rest of them just go play hard. If you don't match their intensity, if you don't get to loose balls, you can't go down three or four possessions and not score against Lon Morris because you're going to be in trouble."

Lon Morris won the so-called hustle stats Thursday, claiming a 12-7 advantage in steals and 43-33 rebounding edge, which included 20 offensive boards.

Kilgore's February win at LMC was the third in a six-game winning streak that came to a halt Feb. 18, when the Lady Rangers lost at home to San Jacinto, which didn't qualify for the regional tournament. That loss started a three-game skid for KC, which lost five of its final six games.

Lauren McKinney was KC's bright spot as she scored 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Aundrea Gamble added nine points and three assists, while Taylor Tucker had six points and nine rebounds. Bianca McGee had nine points.

Dominique Edwards hit 8 of 10 field-goal attempts to lead Lon Morris with 19 points. Foreman made 3 of 7 three-point tries and had 16 points, while Braeuer and Whitney Wilson had 10 points apiece. Byronesha Santiago, LMC's leading scorer and rebounder entering the game, had five points and 10 rebounds.

<em>(Follow Gabriel D. Brooks on Twitter: twitter.com/gabrieldbrooks).</em>

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