Written by Matt Wixon
Heritage girls beat Little Elm, 44-40, for final 9-4A playoff spot
FRISCO — Little Elm and Frisco Heritage needed a tiebreaker to determine which team would get the fourth playoff berth from District 9-4A. The tiebreaker Friday night almost needed a tiebreaker, too.
After Little Elm missed a pair of 3-point tries in the final 15 seconds that could’ve tied the score, Heritage finally escaped with a 44-40 victory at Frisco Lone Star’s gymnasium.
Heritage (16-13) will next play District 10-4A champion West Mesquite at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the bidistrict round. The game will be played at Garland Naaman Forest.
“Little Elm is so well-coached, and they play so hard,” Heritage coach Amy Justice said. “It is a battle. I just feel like you have to play more than 32 minutes.”
Montoria Tripp led Heritage with 17 points, and she helped her team erase Little Elm’s early 10-4 lead — the biggest lead for either team Friday. It’s no surprise that the game was tightly contested, considering Heritage and Little Elm split a pair of close games during district play.
Heritage scored the final seven points of the second quarter to take a 22-18 halftime lead. The lead changed hands a couple of times in the second half before Kiara Almonte, who had 15 points for Little Elm (15-14), tied it at 36-36 with a spin move with 3:20 left.
Tripp followed with a pair of free throws that gave Heritage the lead for good, but Little Elm had chances at the end. After Taylor Jackson sank two free throws to give Heritage a 43-40 lead with 19 seconds left, Little Elm set up Almonte for an open 3-point attempt.
Almonte missed the 3-point try, and Heritage got the ball. But after an offensive foul call on Heritage, Little Elm got the ball back with eight seconds left. Heritage covered Almonte tightly, however, and her final 3-point try was off the mark and rebounded by Tripp, who was fouled and clinched the game with a free throw.