Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Kennedale girls take command early, dominate Smithville 87-66 to reach 3A final
AUSTIN — Kennedale didn’t waste any time turning Thursday’s 3A state semifinal into a blowout.
Its 87-66 victory over Smithville at the Frank Erwin Center was reminiscent of the routs Kennedale enjoyed against District 6-3A opponents.
Kennedale led 40-14 early in the second quarter and shot 50.6 percent from the floor. Three players scored 20 points or more.
“We were hoping to get off to a pretty good start,” Kennedale coach Vance Hughes said. “We didn’t expect to be up that much.”
Kennedale (31-6) advances to face Mexia in the 3A state championship game at 10 a.m. Saturday. Mexia was the runner-up in District 19-3A.
Smithville coach Robin Ramsay and her players acknowledged they were feeling jitters before and during their first state tournament appearance since 2000.
Those jitters manifested themselves in the form of 31 turnovers, which Kennedale converted into 30 points.
Smithville guard Macy Wilhelm took an inbounds pass early in the first quarter and mistakenly scored on her own basket. The miscue helped kickstart a 26-6 Kennedale run to close the first quarter.
“We were so excited and nervous all in one and we were intimidated,” Smithville forward Trina Deyo said. “We just kind of shut down.”
Smithville finished the season with a 29-8 record.
Autummn Williams and Travanti Downes scored 22 points apiece to lead Kennedale, and McKinley Bostad chipped in 20. Downes added 12 rebounds, and Williams had 11 of Kennedale’s 22 steals.
Smithville’s 45 percent shooting helped bring it back within 13 points of the lead in the third quarter. But Kennedale, with a staggering 41 fastbreak points, always had an answer to Smithville’s rallies.
“We had to try and keep their crowd out of it,” Downes said. “If the crowd is in it, then they’ll start feeling better about themselves.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.