ADDISON--Horn entered the playoffs with high hopes.
But to be the best, one has to beat the best, and as fortune would have it, the Jaguars got their opportunity to measure themselves in the second round when they drew reigning state champion Duncanville.
Horn hung tough for three quarters, but the Pantherettes’ depth proved to be too much, as they were able to pull away for a 82-52 victory on Tuesday in a Class 6A area round playoff game at Loos Field House.
Duncanville (26-2), the 11-time state champion who is ranked No. 3 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 6A state poll, moves on to the third round to face Cedar Hill, a 41-34 winner over Skyline, while the Jaguars finish with a 23-5 record.
The final margin was a deceiving one, as the Pantherettes took advantage of a fatigued Horn squad to force 15 turnovers in the final quarter, a majority of which led to easy baskets.
The first three frames were more indicative of the night, where the Jaguars stayed within striking distance, only to see how a state champion answers the call.
Horn scored the first points of the night on a putback by Vernell Atamah and then Jasmine Shavers began to find her groove.
The Mississippi State-signee, who finished with a game-high 30 points, hit a pair of free throws, drained a 3-pointer and then knocked down a tough jumper to tie it at 9-9 late in the first.
Both teams were able to present the other with some problems with their pressure defense, but Duncanville’s size and depth began to assert itself late in the frame, as Kiersten Johnson, who came off the bench to finish with 10 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, converted a pair of putbacks to help the Pantherettes to a 17-11 lead heading to the second.
Duncanville, who had 11 different players score, including five in double figures, used a 10-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and start a second to open a 23-11 lead.
But Horn refused to go away, as Dasia Robinson made a nice move to free herself for a jumper and then hit two free throws and Shavers followed with a three-point play to cut it to 23-18.
The Pantherettes simply kept coming forward, as another reserve, Anaya Bernard, scored six points late in the quarter to open their biggest lead to that point at 39-22.
The Jaguars took advantage of their chances from the free throw line to stay close, hitting 13-of-13 from the charity stripe. Shavers was 9-of-9 herself and her layup to beat the buzzer gave Horn some momentum as they cut it to 39-28 at halftime.
The Jaguars cut to single digits starting the third quarter on a nice play by Jackson and then a familiar theme would play out for much of the remainder of the frame.
Horn cut the deficit to 10 five different occasions, and a pull-up jumper by Shavers got them as close as 49-41 with three minutes left, but Duncanville continued to find its own answers and took a 58-44 lead to the fourth.
It was still a 15-point game with a little more than four minutes left, but as the Jaguars started to fatigue, the Pantherettes pounced, at one point scoring eight points in a 16-second stretch to blow it open, and while they could not rest easy for most of the night, the finally could at the end, as they continue their quest for a 12th state title.