As the second game Class 2A Region I game held at the Texan Dome, Claude showed no nerves or no pressure, being the usual team that has been rolling in the playoffs.
With a combined 33 points, Shiloh Heck and Jenna Cooper led the 2-2A top seed past a tough Sundown team, 53-39, who has been battle-tested as of their past two games.
“It’s a different level of basketball here,” Claude head coach Jason Cooper said. “If your still playing basketball, your pretty good at this point.”
With the victory, this team is already making history, and look to continue to make history,.
With making their first regional tournament appearance since 2006, Claude had no problem under Cooper, who is no stranger to the regional stage.
“This is the tenth game that I’ve coach in here [Texan Dome],” Jason said. “I’m [was] just as nervous as the first game. It’s a different environment everytime you get here, it’s special. It’s quite an accomplishment just to get here.”
The Lady Stangs opened up with a 9-2 run with help from Jenna, Allison Giles, Hannah Bennett and Heck. The Roughettes had their lone score from Jenna Legan, who pitched in a quiet 15 points in the loss.
Sundown attempted to find their way to keep their score close with Claude. Caycee Holson netted a pair of free-throws at the 1:31 mark in the quarter. Alexis Perez, who finished with a physical four points on the day, layed in the easy two points to close the first quarter.
After trading empty-handed possessions to start the second, that would soon change.
Claude sparked a 11-0 run to kickstart their dominant perrformace in the first half.
With the run came some bumps, with a Giles technical foul that saw Legan sink one of her two attemps from the free throw line.
Sundown continued their struggles from the field, attempting to stay withing strinking distance from Claude. Legan found her way back to the line, finding her pair to fall in her one-and-one attempt at the 2:33 mark. Bryanna Day hit three that kept Sundown energized heading to the halftime break.
Just like the first half, Claude found another run.
The Lady Stangs rode a 9-0 run in the early stages of the third quarter, stretching the lead to 40-12 with about six minutes left in the in the quarter. Since then, the defensive side for Claude saw their struggle.
Sundown found a way to spark a run, getting behind Elizabeth Arellano’s 50 percent free throw conversion during her attempt. The Roughettes found the free throw line once again with Donna Lopez, who sunk her attempt with 1:14 left in the quarter.
The Roughettes continued their momentum from the third quarter in attempt to find a way back into the game, riding a 10-3 run in the first half of the final quarter of play, courtesy of Legan, Holson and Aerin Strickland.
Despite the attempted comeback, the Roughettes would fall short as Claude set up their date with Panhandle Saturday at 2 p.m. in their third meeting of the season.
“Everyone is looking ahead to playing Panhandle again,” Jason said. “We had to take care of business and we have that opportunity to do that again.”