GHS-HUNTSVILLE ADVANCE

Georgetown, a team that proved to be somewhat of a surprise itself, will face the surprise team of District 20-5A in a Class 5A bi-district game at 7 p.m. Monday at Hearne High School, a familiar playoff setting for the Lady Eagles.
  Both teams enter the first of seven sudden-death situations that will lead one of 128 teams to the 5A state championship with 23-9 season records.  The winner will advance to the area round later in the week against either District 18-5A champion Temple or Jacksonville, the fourth seed from 17-5A.  Temple (26-5) is a prohibitive favorite in that Monday night confrontation in Fairfield.
   Coach Pinellafie Johnson’s Hornets finished third in 20-5A with a 10-4 mark as they matched 5-2 records in each half of the district’s double-round-robin schedule.  They lost to fourth-place Willis and co-champion Magnolia West in the first half and co-champion Tomball Memorial and sixth-place Tomball in the second half.
   In accompishing their drive to the playoffs, the Hornets, a young team like the Lady Eagles, knocked off Memorial, 34-32, on their homecourt in their final start prior to the playoffs.
   Frankly, they were not expected to be in this position, the Hornets were a preseason choice to finish seventh in their eight-team alignment, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball magazine after a 2015-2016 campaign in which they went 10-27, including a 4-10 district reading.
   The Hornets, who won four of their district games by four points or less, average 46.6 points, 32.9 rebounds and 15.9 steals a game.
   They are led by are led statistically by 5-foot-11 junior power forward Rukiah Utley, who averages 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. She is joined as a prime weapon by returning honorable mention all-district choice Mikayla Johnson, a versatile junior who averages 9.6 points a game. Another junior Jeneka Jackson (5-7), aeturning first-team all-district performer, adds 6.6 points and 6.2 boards a game.
    Georgetown coach Rhonda Farney, directing the Lady Eagles to their 28th consecutive playoff appearance, sees the Hornets as a major challenge for a GHS team that opened the season with no returning starters and lost one of its key performers, sophomore forward McCall Hampton, to injury during its 10th district game.
    “We need to handle their pressure and play defense and rebound,” Farney said. “We need to control the tempo.”
     Georgetown and Rouse deadlocked for seconds at 13-3 in 19-5A and the Lady Eagles will enter the playoffs as the district’s No. 2 seed by virtue of a coin flip for playoff seeding. GHS went 6-2 in the first round of district play, losing to Rouse and champion Cedar Park, and then completed their run to the playoffs with a 7-1 second half in which the only divot was a disappointing loss to Cedar Park.
     The Lady Eagles will take the momentum of winning eight of their last nine starts into their playoff opener.
    Farney is expected to start a lineup of senior point guard Josie Weirich (5-0), sophomore guard Kylie Ellsworth (5-6), senior guard Maddie Vickers (5-7), junior forward Jaelyn Knight (5-11) and junior post Jade Smith (6-0).  The rotation also includes junior guartd Ali Isbell (5-6), sophomore post Mackenzy Mouton (6-0) and junior guard Samari O’Brien (5-6). Senior forward Emili Harris (5-11) is working her way back after missing most of the season with a leg injury.
   Georgetown is averaging 43.3 points, 27.3 rebounds and 14.2 steals a game.  Knight is the scoring lead with an average of 9.7 points a game. She is the only Lady Eagle averaging more than six points a game during a 32-game campaign. With Hampton, the team’s leading rebounder on the shelf, Knight tops the rebound chart with 4.7  a game, while Vickers and Smith add 4.5 and 4.3 boards, respectively,
    The Lady Eagles’ bread and butter is defense. They held 17 of their opponents to 33 points or fewer and allowed an average of just 31.4 points to their district opponents. GHS limited 19-5A opposition to a combined shooting percentage of 26.4 percent  (178 of 674 attempts). They also limited their 19-5A foes to 18.8 percent beyond the arc (42 of 224 efforts).
   Other bi-district games involving 19-5A teams have Cedar Park facing Willis at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bryan, Rouse playing Tomball Memorial at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hearne and fourth-place Pflugerville Connally tackling Magnolia West at 7 p.m. Tuesday at College Station High School.
DISTRICT 19-5A RACE AT A GLANCE
FINAL REGULAR-SEASON STANDINGS
(Through games of Feb. 9)
   Standings: xy-Cedar Park, 16-0; xz-Georgetown, 13-3; x-Rouse, 13-3; x-Pflugerville Connally, 8-8; East View, 7-9; Bastrop, 6-10; Hutto, 5-11; Elgin, 2-14; Bastrop Cedar Creek, 2-14.
   x — clinched playoff berth. y–clinched district championship. z –second seed as result of coin flip.
(End of regular season)
Bi-District Schedule
District 19-5A vs. 20-5A
Cedar Park (1) vs. Willis (4),  7 p.m. Tuesday, Bryan High School.
Georgetown (2) vs. Huntsville (3), 7 p.m. Monday, Hearne High School.
Rouse (3) vs. Tomball Memorial (2), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Hearne High School.
Connally (4) vs. Magnolia West (1), 7 p.m. Tuesday, College Station High School.
AROUND THE REGION
 FINAL REGULAR SEASON
(Through games of Feb. 9)
FINAL STANDINGS
  District 20-5A — x-Magnolia West, 11-3; x-Tomball, Memorial, 11-3; x-Huntsville, 10-4; x-Willis, 8-6; Waller, 5-9; Tomball. 5-9; Magnolia, 5-9; Brenham, 1-13.
   x — clinched playoff berth.
   District seeding playoff (No. 1, No. 2) — Magnolia West 56, Tomball Memorial 53.
   (End of regular season)
***
   District 18-5A — x-Temple, 12-0; x-Bryan Rudder, 9-3; x-Waco University, 8-4; x-College Station, 5-7; College Station A&M Consolidated, 4-8; Waco, 4-8; Bryan, 0-12.
  x-clinched playoff berth.
 (End of regular season)
Bi-District Schedule
Temple (1) vs. Jacksonville (4), 6 p.m. Monday, Fairfield.
Bryan Rudder (2) vs. Lindale (3), 7 p.m. Monday, Slocum High School, Elkhart.
Waco University (3) vs. Nacogdoches (2), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fairfield.
College Station (4) v. Ennis (1), 7 p.m. Monday, Crockett.
***
  District 17-5A — x- Ennis, 10-0; x- Nacogdoches, 8-2; x-Jacksonville, 4-6; x-Lindale, 4-6; Corsicana, 3-7, Whitehouse, 1-9.
  x– clinched playoff berth.
  District seeding playoff (No. 3, No. 4) — Lindale 39, Jacksonville 27.
  (End of regular season)
GHS LADY EAGLES PLAYOFF ROSTER
No.– Name                                       Cl.            Pos.           Ht.
10 — Mercedes Robledo               So.             F               5-8
12 — Graci Harris                               Fr.              G             5-6
13 — Kylee Sander                           So.             G             5-6
14 — Ali Isbell                                    Jr.               G             5-6
15 — Josie Weirich                          Sr.               G             5-0
20 — Hailey Smith                           So.              G             5-6
22 — Samari O’Brien                       Jr.               G             5-6
24 — KJylie Ellsworth                     So.              G            5-6
25 — Maya Perry                              So.              G            5-7
30 — Mackenzy Mouton                So.              P           6-0
32 — Jaelyn Knight                           Jr.               F           5-11
33 — Maddie Vickers                      Sr.               G          5-7
35 — Emili Harris                              Sr.                F          5-11
40 — Hailey Hanson                        So.               G         5-6
42 — Jade Smith                              Jr.                 P          6-0
45 — Alicia King                              Jr.                  P          6-0
50 — McCall Marshall                  So.                 F           5-9
  Head coach: Rhonda Farney (Howard Payne).
  Assistant coaches: Kellye Richardson (Texas Tech), Kristin Curtis (Tarleton State), Kevin Spruill (Texas State).
  Managers: Na’Keia Cook, Rachel Heine, Maddie Jackson, Lexie Mullen, Madison Rincon, Chloe Sutton, Celest Valdez.
  Athletic trainers: Vanessa Morales, Chad Hennessey.
  Student athletic trainers: Caitlin Garza, Ember Verde.
  Athletics Director: Todd York.
HUNTSVILLE HORNETS ROSTER
No.– Name                                       Cl.            Pos.           Ht.
2  — Tichiree Wooten                    Sr.            F/G            5-5
3 —   Jaiden Byrd                              Fr.           PG              5-0
4 — Rukiah Utley                              Jr.           PF               5-11
5 — La’cresia Spivey                        Sr.          F                 5-7
10 — La’nia Harrell                           Sr.          P/PF          5-8
11 — Marquera Jones                    So.          G                5-7
12 — Markayla Johnson                Jr.            F/G           5-10
13 — Alyssa Fielder                        Fr.           PG/F         5-7
20 — Kassidi Brown                        Sr.           F                5-10
22 — Cathy Aguilar                         Sr.           G/F            5-9
23 — Onteria Hunter                     Jr.            W               5-7
24 — Jeneka Jackson                     Jr.            W/P/F      5-7
40 — Rachel Norris                        So.           W               5-5
42 — Deonicia Freeman              Sr.             P               5-10
  Head coach: Pinellafie Johnson.
DISTRICT RECORDS
GEORGETOWN (13-3)
  First half (6-2) — Connally (W, 51-41); Hutto (W, 36-27); Elgin (W, 65-17); Bastrop (W, 68-8), East View (W, 44-43 OT); Rouse (L, 41-45); Cedar Park (L, 42-52); Cedar Creek (W, 56-36).
  Second half (7-1) — Connall;y (W, 43-31); Hutto (W, 58-19); Elgin (W, 62-25); Bastrop (W, 27-23); East View (W, 52-36); Rouse (W, 48-33); Cedat Park (L, 23-36); Cedar Creek (W, 57-30)
HUNTSVILLE (10-4)
  First half (5-2) — Willis (L, 43-54); Tomball Memorial (W, 48-44); Magnolia (W, 47-33); Waller (W, 50-46); Tomball (W, 47-28); Nrenham (W, 71-44); Magnolia West (L, 59-69).
  Second half (5-2) — Willis (W, 54-46); Tomball Memorial (L, 23-40); Magnolia (W, 37-27); Waller (W, 35-32); Tomball (L, 40-45); Brenham (W, 41-27); Magnolia West (W, 34-32).
  — By GALEN WELLNICKI

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