Lady Riders advance in playoffs for second consecutive year; fall to Fairfield in first round
RUSK — The Lady Roughriders of Center had their season come to an end Monday night, dropping a 4A Region III Bi-District Playoff contest to the Lady Eagles of Fairfield, 73-34.
Despite facing a juggernaut in 28-4 Fairfield, the Lady Roughriders looked up to the challenge in the first quarter, staying physical with the Lady Eagles while officials allowed a trench war in the early goings.
The duo of Ja’kayla Parks and Alex Patton kept the team alive in the first, including a three by Patton to get within striking distance at 10-6.
The Lady Eagles’ bench unit sparked a late run in the first quarter, with the Lady Roughriders down 17-6 after a frame. In the second quarter, Center’s ability to possess the ball was stifled amidst heavy Lady Eagle pressure. Forced and unforced turnovers alike led to a 22-7 disadvantage in the second period. The Lady Roughriders were down 39-13 at the halftime break.
Showing life in the third quarter, the team kept up with the Division 19 Champions, thanks in large part to Parks’ ability to draw fouls. An 11-point effort for the junior on the night was still not enough, as the team found themselves down 30 at the end of three, 53-23.
The squad took more outside shots in the fourth quarter, banking a few of them, including a three-pointer from junior guard Mackenzie Mireles. The 11-point quarter was the teams best in the game, but was too few to make up the deficit.
A 34-point night on the whole was the weakest offensive performance for the Lady Roughriders in nearly a month, since putting up 20 in a loss to Huntington on Jan. 31.
The Lady Roughriders captured four district victories on the season, collecting wins over Huntington, Jasper, and two against Hudson.
Losing in the Bi-Districts for the second consecutive season, the program still remains on the upswing, making the playoff field two years in a row after missing out in recent years.
Fairfield will now go onto face the victor of Robinson and Hillsboro in the Area round.