In order to accomplish something that the Pflugerville girls basketball team hadn’t done since 2011, the Lady Panthers had to avoid the same fate they met a year ago.
Pflugerville built an early lead Tuesday night and never looked back, posting a 61-35 victory over Bowie at McNeil High. With the win in the regional quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs, the Lady Panthers secured a spot in this weekend’s Region II tournament.
Pflugerville, which last reached the regional tournament in 2011, improved to 36-0. And Tuesday’s 26-point victory came almost one year after Pflugerville, which was undefeated at the time, lost to The Woodlands in a 2012 regional quarterfinal.
“We didn’t want an upset like we had last year,” Pflugerville senior point guard Taylor Ross said. “We worked hard and stayed focused to make sure that it didn’t happen again.”
Bowie stayed with Pflugerville over the game’s first few minutes, and the Lady Dawgs held a lead for 55 seconds. But thanks to a defense that forced 15 turnovers during the first quarter, Pflugerville opened a 22-11 lead. The Lady Panthers extended that lead to 26 points by halftime.
Led by senior forward Diana Omozee, an Oklahoma State signee who had six points and two blocks over the second quarter’s first three minutes, Pflugerville outscored Bowie 17-2 in the second period.
“That’s always been our philosophy — our defense leads to our offense — I thought they did a good job of that tonight,” Pflugerville coach Nancy Walling said.
Omozee led Pflugerville with 16 points while Ross added 12.
Bowie was led by Kianna Ray, a freshman guard who scored 12 points. The Lady Bulldogs (20-13) lost for the first time since senior Kendra King returned on Jan. 22 after recovering from a wrist injury.
King, the only senior in Bowie’s starting lineup, scored eight points.
Connally 42, Beaumont Central 40: Azaria Miller drove down the left baseline and scored on a floating shot with five seconds to go as Connally advanced to the regional tournament for the first time since 2008.
Miller’s basket broke a 40-40 tie after Beaumont Central had tied the game 20 seconds earlier at the Merrell Center in Katy. The Cougars will face Dawson or Tomball in a Class 4A regional semifinal.
Kara Babola led Connally with 19 points.
– Joe Harrington, Austin Community Newspapers
Vista Ridge 69, Schertz Clemens 39: Sophomore Japreece Dean led a balanced scoring effort with 14 points, as Vista Ridge advanced to the Class 4A, Region IV semifinals for the third straight season.
Seniors Rachel Purl and Hanna Reyes poured in 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Vista Ridge in the game at San Marcos High.
Monica Perez led Schertz Clemens with 13 points.
— Sean Shapiro, Austin Community Newspapers
Georgetown 44, Barbers Hill 42: Georgetown scored on a rebound follow at the buzzer to advance to the Class 4A regional semifinals. The Lady Eagles (30-4) will play Lamar Consolidated or Friendswood to open the 4A, Region III tournament.
Kaitlin Walla and Hayley Hunter each scored 16 points to pace Georgetown.
Smithville 64, SA Sam Houston 49: Taryn Leiferman scored 22 of her game-high 28 points in the first half, helping Smithville roll into the Class 3A regional semifianls.
Smithville held a 34-17 lead entering halftime.
Forward Maygan Washington posted a double-double for Smithville with 15 points and 15 rebounds. She also recorded four blocks.
— Seth Starkey, Austin Community Newspapers
Thorndale 43, Thrall 25: Olivia Atkins and Alix Hoffman each tallied 15 points, leading Thorndale into the Class A, Division I regional semifinals. The Lady Dawgs will face Shiner or Falls City in the next round.
Kelsey Faykus had 13 points for Thrall.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct that Pflugerville defeated Barbers Hill, rather than Brenham.