Written by Matt Wixon
4A Region II girls: Defense carries McKinney North past Frisco Liberty, 49-42
The Colony advances
GARLAND -- Not a lot of shots were falling for McKinney North on Friday night, whether they were contested or taken from the free throw line. But it wasn’t shooting that put McKinney North at the top of the area Class 4A rankings all season.
It was defense. And in the heavyweight matchup with Frisco Liberty in the 4A Region II semifinals, defense was the knockout punch as McKinney North pulled away for a 49-42 victory at the Curtis Culwell Center.
McKinney North (27-4) will play The Colony (22-9) at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Culwell Center for a spot in the state tournament.
“Defense is the heart of our team,” said senior guard Mikaehla Connor, who led McKinney North with 14 points. “It really pumps us up because it leads to a lot of fast-break baskets.”
Two of those fast-break baskets came during a critical stretch of the fourth quarter. After Liberty (27-4) rallied from a seven-point deficit to take a 32-31 lead with six minutes left, McKinney North forced turnovers on three consecutive Liberty possessions and scored eight straight points to take control.
Liberty, which was led by Majestie Robinson’s 15 points, jumped to an 11-3 lead in the first four minutes but struggled for the next 12 minutes. McKinney North finished the first half on an 18-3 run.
The Colony 60, Sulphur Springs 49: The Colony trailed by two after three quarters, but it scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter and sealed the win by making its final 10 free throws.
Junior wing Libby Waddell led The Colony (22-9) with 21 points. She had three of the seven 3-pointers hit by The Colony, which got open looks as Sulphur Springs’ perimeter players sagged into the lane to help defend 6-3 post Jade Williams. The freshman finished with 19 points.
Sulphur Springs (25-6) trailed throughout the first half but took a 35-30 lead with a 9-0 run early in the third quarter. The run included seven points in 30 seconds by junior point guard Desi Debase, who finished with 25 points.
The Colony, which was knocked out in the regional semifinals last year, recovered with the help of two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the third quarter and two more in the first three minutes of the fourth.
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