Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Plano West takes nailbiter over Skyline 43-42 to earn final four berth
WACO -- Plano West’s Callie Owens threw an inbounds pass toward midcourt with 3.6 seconds remaining in Saturday’s Class 5A Region II final at the Ferrell Center.
West held a 43-42 lead over Skyline and just needed to hold on a few seconds longer to earn its first trip to the state tournament since 2006.
The ball was tipped, and West’s Kyrie McNeil and Skyline’s Dai’Ja Thomas lunged toward the loose basketball. Time expired during the scrum, and West held on for the 43-42 victory.
“Honestly, those were probably the longest three seconds of my life,” West sophomore guard Sydney Skinner said.
The lead changed 11 times during the wild game, and neither team led by more than six points. It was a vast difference from the first meeting between the two squads this season, when West handed Skyline a lopsided 67-44 defeat in November.
Skyline led 37-34 early in the fourth quarter, but West came back behind a layup from Natalie Chou and 3-pointer by Morgann Yancey.
West turned the ball over three times in the final two minutes, but Skyline wasn’t able to retake the lead. It made only one field goal during the final three minutes.
Skyline’s last shot was a 3-point attempt with five seconds remaining.
“We wanted to make them rush,” West first-year head coach Kristen Perry said. “If they were going to shoot the ball, I wanted them to rush the shot and have to think about the shot.”
The one-point loss was heartbreaking for Skyline, which sought its first trip to the state tournament. Despite having its 134-game district winning streak snapped earlier this season, Skyline rebounded to get closer to reaching state than it ever has. Its last trip to the regional finals was in 1997, when it lost by two points to Longview.
Junior forward Jordan Alexander led Skyline with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Skinner led Plano West with 10 points and added seven rebounds. West also got 11 points off the bench from Owens and Tiffany Dunlap.
“We did a good job of keeping calm and staying controlled,” Skinner said. “That was one of our main goals. Keep control of the game.”