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Girls basketball playoffs: Plano East beats Southlake Carroll to reach first regional final in nearly three decades



PLANO, TX— Southlake Carroll came into Saturday’s Class 6A Region I semifinal allowing only 34 points per game.

Helped by four of Kayla Cooper’s five 3-pointers, Plano East reached 34 points by halftime and cruised to a 56-42 victory at Loos Fieldhouse.

Press conference to address allegations of bullying in a Plano ISD school

Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser on a news conference

Plano East (20-3) extended its winning streak to 19 and with its fourth playoff win, matched the program’s total over the previous 18 seasons.

The victory earned Plano East its first regional final appearance since 1993. It will meet South Grand Prairie at a time and site to be determined.

Carroll (23-7), in the fourth playoff round for the first time since 2004, had not allowed more than 29 points in its three playoff wins.

But Cooper and Tiana Amos, who hit a trio of 3-pointers in the opening half, were not intimidated.

“They were playing off me,” said Cooper, a 5-9 junior guard who finished with a game-high 21 points. “And I have more confidence with Idara [Udo] under the basket.”

Udo’s work on the offensive glass deflated Carroll comeback hopes. The 6-2 sophomore finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

“Cooper was big-time tonight,” Plano East coach Jessica Linson said. “That’s the beauty of our team with girls stepping up. They have so much confidence right now.”

Both programs are flourishing after a coaching change prior to the 2019-20 season. Southlake Carroll’s Robyn McCoart stresses defense. Linson employs a faster tempo, and her team averages 65 points a game.

Plano East’s full-court defense forced the normally patient Southlake Carroll attack to speed up, leading to turnovers and shorter possession time.

Carroll managed to trim a 13-point deficit to six in the third period and had a possession to get even closer. Lady Dragons sophomore guard Kelsey Boyette came off the bench for an eight-point quarter that included two 3-pointers. Plano East regained control with baskets by Udo and Cooper.

Sophomore guard Camryn Tade led Southlake Carroll with 15 points, all but five coming in the first quarter.

“We set our goal at the beginning of the season to excel in the playoffs,’’ said Carroll’s McCoart. “We had great senior leadership and zero problems on this team. Our motto was ‘relentless’ and that’s what these girls were. That allowed us to beat teams that were more athletic. But Plano East was just so big.”


Pinkston 56, Brownsboro 55: Tamia Flores made a game-winning layup with about 15 seconds remaining as Pinkston advanced to a regional final for the first time in school history.

Brownsboro, ranked No. 7 in the state by the TABC, missed a pull-up jumper in the final seconds that could have won it.

Flores scored 27 points, and Victoria Flores added 22 points for Pinkston (25-5). Pinkston trailed 43-38 entering the fourth quarter of the 4A Region II semifinal, but rallied and will play Gilmer next.

South Grand Prairie 71, Keller 40: South Grand Prairie made 14 3-pointers and advanced to a regional final for the third time in five years.

UNLV signee Kiara Jackson and North Texas signee Kendall McGruder scored 17 points apiece for SGP (24-2), and Nxerro Maluw finished with 11 points.

SGP has won 19 games in a row and will play Plano East at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. South Grand Prairie beat Plano East 69-53 on Nov. 10.

SGP lost its last two regional finals, falling to Duncanville in 2017 and losing to DeSoto in 2019.

Duncanville 84, Klein Oak 36: Defending Class 6A state champion Duncanville produced its fourth consecutive playoff blowout to set up the regional final matchup that everyone expected when the playoffs began.

Duncanville, ranked No. 3 in the state by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, will play No. 2 DeSoto at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Waxahachie. DeSoto (25-2), the 2019 state runner-up, swept its two district matchups with Duncanville, winning 62-55 and 69-60.

Duncanville (28-2) has won its playoff games by an average of 41.3 points this season. Duncanville beat DeSoto 47-43 in the third round of the playoffs last year en route to winning its 11th state championship — third-most in UIL history.

Four-star Syracuse signee Nyah Wilson led Duncanville with 16 points, Kiyara Howard-Garza and SMU signee Zaria Rufus scored 13 points apiece, and Kiersten Johnson had a team-high nine rebounds. Howard-Garza and Rufus scored all of their points in the first three quarters as Duncanville took a 60-24 lead into the fourth quarter.

Gilmer 35, Midlothian Heritage 33: Gilmer rallied from a 22-15 halftime deficit to win a 4A Region II semifinal.

Gilmer (25-2) outscored Heritage 14-3 in the third quarter and held Heritage to 11 points in the second half.

Ponder 73, Winnsboro 66: Tate Wells dominated the Class 3A Region II semifinal, scoring 29 points as Ponder improved to 28-3.

Ponder, ranked No. 4 in the state in 3A, will play No. 9 Gunter in the regional final. Riley Jackson scored 11 for Ponder, and Kenzie Crider added 10 points.

Ponder led by just one after three quarters, but it outscored Winnsboro 22-16 in the final quarter.