Entering Tuesday night, there was plenty of uncertainty in the District 9-5A girls basketball playoff picture.
Other than potential seeding implications, the fourth and final playoff spot remained up for grabs as Centennial and Reedy squared off in a win-and-get-in game for the Lady Titans. On the other hand, Reedy looked to force a play-in game Friday between the two with a win, but Centennial had other plans.
In a wild, back-and-forth affair, it was the Lady Titans who hung on for a 49-48 victory behind four clutch 3-pointers in the final frame to go along with timely stops on the defensive end.
Despite finishing the regular season with an impressive 13-5 record, the Lady Titans storm into the postseason as the fourth seed and will take on District 10-5A champion Wylie East Monday at Allen in the bi-district round.
“Our district has really prepared us for the playoffs and our top half has been really heavy,” said Bradley Blalock, Centennial head coach. “It’s also really good to have momentum going in.”
Reedy’s 2019-20 campaign comes to an end just two games back of a playoff spot in head coach Ryan Woodworth’s first year at the helm after he inherited a Lions crew which racked up a total of 11 wins all of last season.
“He has done a phenomenal job as a first-year coach to have his team in position to even make the playoffs and has them doing the right things,” Blalock said. “They probably don’t have a superstar on that team, but they all play for each other and have matured so much this year.”
Against the Lady Titans, eight different Reedy players scored, including five Lions recording at least one point in the final frame, as both sides traded baskets down the stretch.
In fact, Reedy entered the fourth clinging on to a narrow 29-25 advantage before Centennial star senior Madison Ott, who had scored just three points in the first three quarters, came alive with a key assist and a make from downtown to give her squad a 30-29 edge.
Following a bucket from Reedy sophomore Adrianna McCoy, Ott then spearheaded a 10-2 run to give the Lady Titans their largest lead of the night at 40-33 before a clutch 3-pointer in the corner by Lucy Rogers and multiple trips to the free throw line by junior Leila Patel helped seal the deal.
Ott ended the contest with 11 points and a game-high six assists, while Patel paved the way with 19 points in Centennial’s biggest triumph of the season thus far.
“We have a dynamic duo with those two, and we know having the ball in their hands they won’t let us lose,” Blalock said. “[Ott] has been such an unselfish player, understanding that she is our leading scorer, but needed to do anything we needed her to do today to get a win. She also had a tough task of guarding [Katelyn] Cheedie, who is a phenomenon shooter.”
Cheedie led all Lions with 14 points in the loss and didn’t even get cooking until the fourth quarter where she poured in eight of her points.
Picking up the slack for the senior sharpshooter in the first three quarters included an array of Reedy’s core in senior Bella Vu, sophomore Harley Harbour and freshmen Olivia Flory and Ainslee Padgett, as the Lions led by as many as eight points midway through the second stanza.
That advantage quickly evaporated, as Patel went on to score eight of her team’s next 10 points to give the Lady Titans a 25-19 edge before Reedy reeled off eight straight to take the lead at the end of three.
Madness then ensued in the fourth, as the Lions would not go down without a fight with big-time baskets from McCoy, Cheedie and senior Mari Sanchez to get Reedy within one basket on its last three possessions, but the comeback effort was just too little, too late.