BRIDGEPORT – Lake Dallas sophomore guard Camryn Richardson said that on the morning of every game day, the Lady Falcons show up at the school’s gymnasium at 7 a.m. to work on their shooting for one hour.
It was a routine that Lake Dallas continued to follow Thursday in preparation for their Class 5A bi-district playoff game that night against Aledo.
All of that extra shooting paid off.
Lake Dallas (23-4) buried nine 3-pointers and had three players score in double figures as the Lady Falcons, ranked No. 14 in 5A according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, overcame a sluggish start to cruise to a 64-35 rout of the Lady Cats at Bridgeport High School.
Junior point guard Mackenzie Buss, who missed all of last season with ACL, MCL and meniscus injuries, poured in 20 points in her first playoff game in two years. Junior Jorja Elliott had 15 points and was also a factor on the defensive end. Richardson chipped in 12 points.
"Everybody has their nights," Richardson said. "If it's not all of us, everybody steps up at one point. Everybody has their moments. The great thing about our game is that, even though one person might not be on every point, somebody might be on. I feel like that we play together as a team."
Lake Dallas advances to the area round where it will take on Mansfield Timberview, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Irving High.
Aledo kept it close for one quarter.
Clinging to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, Lake Dallas head coach Jordan Davis went over the scouting report with her players in the timeout between quarters. She reminded her players of the things that they need to look at and to also communicate better as a team. They were all ears.
Richardson said she came into the game ready to shoot the ball. She followed through on her word. The Lake Dallas sophomore made three 3-pointers during the first 4:38 of the second quarter.
On Richardson’s third 3-pointer, Buss said she “just kind of hurled” a pass from across the court to her Lady Falcon teammate after being double teamed in front of the Aledo bench. Richardson caught the pass on the right wing and buried the jump shot to give Lake Dallas a 23-10 lead.
Richardson’s 3-pointers helped Lake Dallas’ offense to get into a rhythm that Aledo just couldn’t contain.
And it wasn’t just Richardson who had the hot hand.
Buss and Elliott engineered an 8-0 Lady Falcon run to close out the first half. Elliott got a jumper to bounce off the glass and into the basket with under a minute left. Then, with just two seconds remaining, Buss converted a layup to increase Lake Dallas’ lead to 35-19.
"It took us a little bit to get rolling, but that's the first playoff game and adjusting start times and everything,” Davis said. “But, I think the kids were ready, and after we got on them about knowing their scouting report, we kicked it into gear a little bit and they figured it out and did a good job knocking down some shots when Aledo was making its runs."
Junior Bailey Broughton had a shining moment of her own in the third quarter, burying the first of four 3-points in the frame for the Lady Falcons, who outscored the Lady Cats 42-17 over the second and third quarters.
"That's awesome," Buss said. "You look up there and you see the score and you don't really know the story behind it because you're not there. Everybody showed out today. That was a great team win. Everybody did their part."
Moments after the game, Buss shed a few tears. She said it came from having to watch last season’s playoff run to the regional semifinals from the bench. Thursday night, she was on the court for the first playoff win of her high school career.
"It was tough to watch last year," Buss said. "Before this game, my teammates told me that they're all proud of me, I made it here and I did all of that work. I'm just excited to be on this journey and excited to be an active part of it."