SACHSE GIRLS BASKETBALL BRIANNA SALAZAR

Brianna Salazar scored five points on Thursday, but DeSoto pulled away in the second half to post a 56-23 victory in a Class 6A Region 2 quarterfinal game at Skyline High School.

DALLAS—A couple of years from now, Sachse might look back at Thursday night as a pivotal learning experience.

The Mustangs, who start one senior, one sophomore and three freshmen, squared off with a veteran DeSoto squad that featured two seniors and three juniors in the starting five.

The Eagles, who are No. 2 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 6A state poll, showed exactly why they are worthy of that lofty ranking, rolling to a 56-23 victory in a Region 2 quarterfinal game at Skyline High School.

DeSoto (23-1) advances to the regional semifinals where it will take on No. 12 Langham Creek (22-2) tomorrow or Saturday at a time and place to be determined.

The Eagles play a patient style of ball on offense that allowed them to shoot 57 percent (24-of-42) from the floor. On the other end, DeSoto’s aggressive half-court defense was troublesome all night, as it limited the Mustangs to just 18 percent (8-of-45) shooting.

Despite those final figures, there was a moment when Sachse (14-8) made things very interesting in the third quarter.

Down 22-9 at halftime, the Mustangs opened the second half with Brianna Salazar knocking down a 3-pointer and Sierra Douglas hitting a free throw to get to within single digits.

DeSoto briefly stemmed the tide with a jumper by Ayanna Thompson, but Sachse came right back, as Neenah George drained a 3-pointer to close to within 24-16.

The Mustangs then forced a turnover and had a three-on-one fast break, which culminated with a layup, but they were called for a charge with 5:15 left in the quarter.

Instead of Sachse getting back to within six, it was the Eagles who completely changed the course of the game, reeling off a 22-0 run to essentially put it away.

Kendall Brown, who poured in a game-high 20 points, jumpstarted the spurt with a 3-pointer, Jiya Perry and Sa’Myah Smith followed with layups, Thompson hit a trey and a free-throw line jumper and Perry added another score to give them a 38-16 lead at the end of three quarters.

It continued into the fourth, with Thompson, Brown and Tionna Herron each converting high-percentage shots to make it 46-18.

Sachse’s leading scorer Crislyn Rose, who had been blanketed by DeSoto much of the night, finally got free for a 3-pointer, but that marked their first points in nearly 10 minutes and the final 3:20 was merely academic.

In addition to Brown, Thompson tallied 11 points, Perry had seven and Amina Muhammad added six for the Eagles, while Salazar, George and Micah Cooper each had five points to pace the Mustangs.

Though the final score was lopsided, the outcome was in doubt for two-and-half quarters.

DeSoto started quickly with two baskets from Muhammad and another by Kayla Glover to take a 6-0 lead.

Sachse got on the scoreboard courtesy of a 3-pointer from Londyn Oliphant and they closed the period strong with a trey from Cooper and a free throw from Sierra Douglas to pull to within 10-7 at the end of the first.

The Mustangs had held the Eagles scoreless for the final 3:25 of the opening frame, but Brown heated up to start the second, draining back-to-back 3-pointers and followed with a pair of free throws to push the lead to 18-7.

Cooper knocked down a 15-footer for Sachse, but that would be its only points of the quarter, as inside baskets from Smith and Thompson made it 22-9 at halftime.

The Mustangs would make things interesting during the early stages of the third quarter, but the Eagles showed why they are a state championship contender, as they stepped on the gas and took another step toward reaching that goal.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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