DUNCANVILLE – A 12-point first-quarter lead for the Plano West girls basketball team was quickly erased at the hands of Incarnate Word’s Gabby Contreras in both squads’ first game at the 2019 Sandra Meadows Classic.
Incarnate Word went on an 18-5 run from the final three minutes of the first quarter to the middle of the second frame before taking lead for good behind 26 points from Contreras, and the Shamrocks topped the Lady Wolves, 70-66, in Duncanville.
Incarnate Word made 14 three-pointers, including seven from Contreras and four from Gia Garcia, who had 22 points. The duo combined for 48 points – including a combined 31 in the second and third quarters.
West was led by 11 from Katy Wade and 10 each from Brooke Johnson and Brooke Blair. The loss shifted the Lady Wolves to the consolation bracket for the remainder of the tournament.
West head coach Kristen Grassi implored her team to play Garcia and Contreras tighter after halftime, but the duo continued to be lights-out from deep – which also opened up driving lanes for the other Shamrocks.
“I ended up telling my girls to let them drive and put up a contested two-pointer, but they were just unconscious from deep,” Grassi said. “It’s going to be hard to overcome 14 made 3-pointers.”
Grassi acknowledged that her team was still in “Christmas shape” following a long layoff from the Lady Wolves’ most previous game to Thursday’s tilt. That, mixed with a short bench and Incarnate Word’s sharpshooting, made for a long day.
“That’s always how it is at this tournament, being right after Christmas, but we needed to play tighter defense on their shooters,” Grassi said. “We were pretty much running baseline to baseline all game, and it caught up to us at the end.”
Still, West had a chance late in the game.
Trailing 63-57 with 4:20 remaining, Griffin Young stole the ball in the backcourt and passed it to Mia Kendall, who hit a corner 3-pointer. Incarnate Word answered with a bucket of its own, pushing the lead to five with 3:40 remaining.
Two mid-range jumpers by Johnson and a pair of missed Incarnate Word free throws later, West trailed by only one. The Lady Wolves have a chance to take the lead, but Johnson lost the ball out of bounds with 1:02 remaining, and Incarnate Word pushed its lead to three with just over a minute remaining.
The play of the game happened after an Incarnate Word timeout, when Garcia stole the ball from Wade and passed it to Contreras, who hit one of two free throws to give the Shamrocks a four-point lead with 11 seconds left.
“Games like this are really good for us going into district play,” Grassi said. “We’ve got to get our legs ready and then we’ll be good to go once school starts up again.”