SNYDER— See you in Brownwood.
In a must win situation with the season hanging in the balance, the South Plains College Lady Texans rose to the occasion presented on Thursday night, downing the Western Texas Lady Westerners 59-56 in Snyder to advance to the region five tournament in Brownwood.
"I thought we came out and held our composure when the game was tight," South Plains College head coach Cayla Petree said. "We weren't playing our best basketball offensively, but when we had to make plays we hit some big shots. Any wins a win, and we're excited to get out of here and see who we're going to be playing in Brownwood."
South Plains finished the regular season as winners of seven of their last nine, with their only losses coming on the road to conference champion New Mexico Junior College, and a three-point loss at Midland on January 28.
6-foot-1 freshman Yanina Inkina finished the contest with 10 points and five rebounds for the Lady Texans in 34 minutes of action, while Taylor Holley had 10 points and 12 boards. Ugochinyere Nwarie went 4-for-9 from the field totaling 9 points and 10 rebounds, and Elizabeth Cera had seven points.
"The game was really tough, and we fought the whole game," Inkina said. "It wasn't a really good game, but because of our effort and wanting to go to regionals, we listened to our coach and played with effort, and just tried to get every ball. Elizabeth Cera made a very important three for us, which helped us to go ahead at the end."
South Plains would take a 42-35 lead into the locker room at halftime after shooting over 43 percent from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes. The two teams would trade blows throughout the final two quarters, with Western Texas eventually taking a 52-50 lead with just under a minute to play.
Coach Petree would call a timeout with 53 seconds remaining, and drew up what turned out to be a masterpiece on her white board. The Lady Texans got the ball into the hands of Cera on the right wing with 40 seconds remaining.
The Freshman guard from Levelland connected on a long 3-pointer to give the Lady Texans a 53-52 lead, one they would never surrender in the end.
The win pushed the Lady Texans to 8-6 in the WJCAC, tied with Odessa College for the third seed. The Lady Wranglers won the coin flip which decided the seeding for the regionals, pairing South Plains with Collin County on Thursday March 3 at 12 p.m.
"I think we are doing well, and doing everything we planned to do," Inkina said. "We will try to continue to win every game, and we will have a lot of opportunities at regionals. We need to continue to work hard in practice and continue to go after every ball, which is the key to our success."