Unlike last year’s double-overtime extravaganza on Sherman’s home floor, a Lady Bearcat victory and a playoff clincher were practically done deals from the start.

Unlike last year’s double-overtime extravaganza on Sherman’s home floor, a Lady Bearcat victory and a playoff clincher were practically done deals from the start.


But one thing was the same as last year’s meeting with Royse City on Friday night at Bearcat Gymnasium: A tightly-called game with lots and lots of fouls.


"We knew it was going to be a physical game," Sherman head coach Beth Tallant said. "We just had to keep playing hard. Lots of things happened in the game, but we’re proud of the win."


Sa’Liesha Hunter led the way with 35 points, six rebounds and seven steals as the Lady Cats punched their postseason ticket with a 77-50 win over the Lady Bulldogs.


Coupled with Wylie’s loss to first-place McKinney North, the Lady Cats (13-11, 8-3) assured themselves of a fourth-straight trip to the playoffs. But now the focus is on improving their seeding, starting with Tuesday’s key District 13-4A contest at second-place Lovejoy.


"I think the girls realize how important it is to work hard Monday and take care of business Tuesday," Tallant said. "If we all step up and play like we’re capable of, we’ll be just fine."


Brelyn Keys added 15 points and also recorded seven steals for the Lady Cats, who were on a 100-point scoring pace until Tallant called off the dogs late in the third period with Sherman leading by 36 points.


Alexus Wawton led Royse City (6-15, 2-9) with 21 points and 11 rebounds.


The game was delayed for about five minutes midway through the third period when an official’s shoelace broke.


Sherman’s pressure defense resulted in a quick 7-0 lead in the first minute of the game as Jayzhia Softly made two early buckets, including a three-point play, and Keys added one.


From there on, however, the first half became a foul fest as both teams were in the double bonus before the end of the first period. Sherman shot 31 free throws and made 24 before halftime, while Royse City made 10 of 20.


In the meantime, the Lady Cats were able to expand their lead, taking a comfortable 26-10 margin at the end of the first eight minutes and a 52-26 advantage at intermission.


Brandy Higgs added seven points before fouling out, and Softly and J’Lyn Wash added six points each for the Lady Cats. Softly didn’t play in the final three quarters.


With a few players getting healthier, Tallant actually had a little bit of a bench to empty late. Jazlyn Cleamons, a recent junior-varsity call-up, got into her second varsity game of the year and had four points and five rebounds. Freshmen Kristen Gittens and Dalea Myles also logged significant minutes.


"Jaz stepped up," Tallant said. "She gave us an inside presence, which we need. It’s always good to get your younger kids some playing time. We’ll have Mary (Kate Motley) back on Monday, so that’ll be a nice re-addition for us."