TOM BEAN — It had been nearly a month since the Collinsville Lady Pirates faced a game like this.
Normally during district play they have raced out on opponents thanks to a flurry of three-pointers and a pressing defense that has turned the game into a blowout somewhere in the second quarter. All but one of their first seven wins against 12-2A foes were by at least 18 points.
But on the way to winning its third straight district championship, Collinsville found itself up against a team entering the final week of the season in a battle for a playoff spot after two straight victories and the Tom Bean Lady Tomcats were now trying for a big upset.
Collinsville was trailing for almost 10 minutes before the Lady Pirates used a pair of major runs over the last part of the first half to pull away for a 76-50 victory in 12-2A action.
The victory locked in that third straight district crown for a program that hadn’t won one in 36 years before starting the current streak.
Carrie Johnson hit five three-pointers and finished with 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals, Gracie Cavin added 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals, Brittney Fields totaled 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and five steals and Katy Claytor chipped in eight points, 10 steals, nine rebounds and four assists for Collinsville (26-6, 8-0), which hosts Tioga on Friday night.
Bri Yale made five three-pointers and totaled 19 points, Emma Lowing scored 11 points and Kaitlyn Lind added eight points for Tom Bean, which is two games behind Lindsay and Sam Rayburn, who are tied for third place. The Lady Tomcats host second-place Valley View on Friday and then finish at Tioga to end the season.
After Collinsville jumped out to a 7-2 lead, it was Tom Bean that controlled the rest of the first quarter. Yale and Johnson traded threes before Yale then answered a shot from deep by Cavin and the Lady Tomcats held their first advantage at 11-10 with 2:33 remaining in the frame.
Lind capped the 11-3 burst with a reverse layup on the ensuing possession and Collinsville was down, 15-14, at the end of the quarter following Johnson’s runner in the lane with five seconds left.
Yale continued to connect from deep and gave Tom Bean a 20-16 lead less than a minute into the second quarter.
But that’s when the Lady Pirates put together their two game-changing runs. The first was an 11-0 surge with Johnson scoring nine of the points before Yale ended Tom Bean’s four-minute drought with a three-pointer to trim the deficit to four.
Collinsville followed with a 13-2 run to end the first half. Johnson and Claytor had threes — Claytor banked in hers from the left wing — during this stretch and Fields scored at the buzzer following a steal as the Lady Pirates went into the locker room with a 41-25 advantage.
A 9-0 spurt to start the second half was spurred by seven points from Cavin and Collinsville doubled its lead at 50-25. The Lady Pirates pushed the margin to 30 points a couple of times, the last at 62-32, and were ahead 66-40 heading to the fourth quarter — where the teams played to a stalemate as each produced 10 points.
After scoring 27 points in the second quarter, Collinsville had 25 points in third and the pace was too much for Tom Bean to match. The Lady Tomcats hit five three-pointers in those two frames but made just five other shots as the upset bid was slipping away.