PARIS — The calling card all season long for the Pottsboro Lady Cardinals has been their defense. It is what led to another playoff appearance and a share of the District 9-3A title. It helped them escape the first round with a victory.

But Edgewood proved to be more than capable without the ball as well and forced Pottsboro into an early hole the Lady Cardinals eventually dug out of. The effort expended eventually took its toll, however, and Pottsboro couldn’t keep pace down the stretch in a 41-32 loss against the Lady Bulldogs in a Class 3A Region II area round game at Paris on Friday night.

“They have a good defense too,” Lady Cardinals head coach Keith Bates said. “I still didn’t feel bad when it was 19-10 at half-time. That’s great defense. But it’s tough when you spend that much energy to get back in it.”

Edgewood (24-7) will face Van Alstyne in the region quarterfinals on Tuesday at Sunnyvale. The Lady Bulldogs are in the third round for the first time since 2015.

Sophomores Hadley Williams and Hannah Fellinger each scored 11 points and senior Riley Westervelt added five points for Pottsboro (23-8), which was trying to get to the region quarters for the fourth time in five seasons. The Lady Cardinals were the region runner-up last year in their second straight region tourney appearance.

“They’re spoiled. They think that’s expected,” Bates said. “Just because we didn’t win 30 games we’re still a dang good team. Besides Riley we’re still a pretty young team. I’m proud of them. I think they did a heck of a job.”

It was the 24th time Pottsboro held an opponent under 45 points.

Tabby Parker scored 14 points and Kenzie Smith added nine points for Edgewood, which took the lead for good with 6:23 remaining.

Pottsboro took its first lead as Williams drove to the basket seconds into the fourth quarter. She then matched Smith’s bucket and Fellinger hit a free throw for a 29-27 advantage by the Lady Cardinals with 6:42 left.

But Addi Prater hit a three-pointer from the left wing and Parker followed with a three-pointer from the left corner to extend Edgewood’s margin to four.

Pottsboro was in the middle of a five and a half minute drought which ended when Fellinger hit two free throws. It cut the deficit to two points because the Lady Cardinals had shut out the Lady Bulldogs for a three-minute stretch.

Prater made a pair of free throws, Fellinger connected on just one and then Parker converted a three-point play with 47 seconds left to seal the victory.

The Lady Bulldogs had an 11-point lead early in the third quarter before Pottsboro went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 21 with 3:20 left in the stanza.

Fellinger made a three-pointer, Tatum Rekieta hit a jumper and Williams hit three free throws during the stretch before Westervelt converted a three-point play.

The teams traded a pair of free throws before Edgewood took a 25-24 advantage to the fourth quarter.

Despite not putting up a point in the opening eight minutes, Pottsboro was able to get its deficit down to a single possession as Edgewood managed only a free throw from Smith in the first four minutes of the second quarter.

Williams got the Lady Cardinals on the board with a three-pointer from the right wing and Fellinger and Sammy Wallis each hit a pair of free throws. Anna Roebuck made one from the line to pull Pottsboro within 11-8 before the Lady Cardinals went into a four-minute scoreless drought. It didn’t help when Williams picked up her third foul — all of the Pottsboro fouls to that point — with 7:36 to go in the half and had to sit until the start of the third quarter.

That allowed Edgewood to pump its lead back up. Parker hit back-to-back jumpers and Clara Pool hit three free throws for a 10-point margin.

The Lady Bulldogs took a 19-10 lead into the locker room as the Lady Cardinals looked to regroup.

Pottsboro was held scoreless in the first quarter with a majority of the action being limited to turnovers and fouls.

The Lady Cardinals were struggling against Edgewood’s full-court press but the Lady Bulldogs were struggling to turn that defensive effort into points.

“We didn’t handle it very well,” Bates said.

Katy Pool hit a three-pointer a little more than a minute into the game and the score stayed that way until Keeley Randle made a jumper in the middle of the quarter. A minute later Smith hit a shot, which was followed only by Jacie Elliott banking in a three-pointer from the left wing with 46 seconds left in the quarter for the 10-0 advantage.

“When you spot someone 10 points in the playoffs, that’s almost the game right there,” Bates said. “They still had the guts to comeback and compete, even take the lead.”