PRINCETON — Anna’s Lady Coyotes are in the Class 4A basketball playoffs after a 53-42 play-in win over Celina at Princeton High School on Friday, Feb. 9. The Lady Coyotes exploded for 24 fourth-quarter points to seal the deal after three nip-and-tuck frames. Anna sophomore guard Kaycee Redwine had the game of her young career, posting a team-high 14 points and harassing Lady Bobcat foes at both ends.
The Lady Coyotes led, 20-19, at halftime and also held a 1-point edge to start the final stanza.
These teams split two contests during the regular season and were knotted in fourth place with 3-7 marks when district play ended Feb. 6. This meeting settled things for District 11-4A’s final playoff berth.
“We got in the playoffs,” first-year Anna head coach Albert Cager smiled. “I think it all boils down to team effort, the team concept that we’ve been talking about every day. We never know who is going to show up. Tonight, Kaycee Redwine had a fantastic game. She’s really been struggling the last couple of days of practice, the last couple of games. That’s why we stay positive with the kids because you never know when their time will come. She got an opportunity tonight and she played great defense and hit some shots for us. She really was that spark plug that we needed.”
Senior forward JaShell Evans and junior forward Hannah Howell also came up big for Anna this night. Evans tallied 12 points and Howell added nine, and both were forces around the basket. The Lady Coyotes’ ranks were also replenished by the return of three players who’d been sidelined with the flu — guard Skyla Mackey, forward Taylor Medrick and guard Chastity Brown-Littleton.
Summer Franklin led Celina with 16 points.
Anna (8-19) will now face District 12-4A champion Quinlan Ford (22-11) in the bi-district playoffs at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Wylie East High School.
For three quarters this match was tense and tight as both squads struggled to gain traction. The Lady Coyotes had turnover problems, especially in the first half, and Celina’s free-throw shooting was poor throughout the game, as only 15-of-38 tries (39 percent) found home.
In the decisive fourth quarter, the Lady Coyotes overcame two Celina rallies before putting the game away. Brown-Littleton’s jumper from the left side, with a Medrick assist, opened the period but the Lady Bobcats soon led, 33-31. Evans tied it on a put-back off a Mackey 3 attempt and soon the Lady Coyotes found some breathing room. Back-to-back post-rebound long throws from Howell to Evans and Mackey, respectively, led to layup buckets and a 37-33 Anna advantage.
Howell’s layup off a FeKyra Wells assist and another close-range Howell basket sent the Lady Coyotes’ lead to 42-33 with five minutes left to play. Howell later found Evans again on a deep route for 2 to send Anna’s margin back to nine. From there, the Lady Bobcats put on a final push, cutting the deficit to 44-40, with two minutes remaining.
The Lady Coyotes responded with a Redwine-to-Evans inbounds pass under Anna’s basket which Evans promptly flushed for a six-point lead. With 1:10 left, clutch free throws by Mackey and guard Marianna Bert had the Lady Coyotes ahead, 51-42, with 26 seconds to go. Forward Shataelyn King’s layup off a Redwine assist closed-out the evening’s scoring.
As for Anna’s late long-range attacks, Cager said, “They started a man-to-man full-court press, giving the deep pass up. We just take what the defense gives us.”
Celina managed a 13-10 lead after one quarter and could’ve had more but for a 3-for-10 showing from the charity stripe. A Redwine 3, two baskets from Evans and one from guard Madison Davis kept the Lady Coyotes close here.
In the second period, the Lady Bobcats got out to their biggest lead of the game, 19-13, before Anna posted a 7-0 run and held Celina scoreless for the half’s final five minutes. Medrick’s free throw started the push followed by an Evans layup off Howell’s assist. Four consecutive Redwine free throws gave the Lady Coyotes their 20-19 advantage at the break.
Bert opened the third quarter with a trey from the left side and Redwine’s jumper pushed Anna’s lead to 25-20, 5:20 before the stanza ended. Celina would tie things twice — at 25 and 27 with a long Redwine 2 off the glass in between — before Howell’s put-back layup gave Anna its one-point edge after three.
“I think it’s all God at the end of the day,” Cager said. “We’ve had some tough injuries. We’ve lost some really, really key players. We’ve had three or four players out this week with the flu. We’ve had couple of players who’ve only been at practice on or two days this week. I think it’s a testament to if you have faith in God you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”
Anna scorers: Kaycee Redwine 14, JaShell Evans 12, Hannah Howell 9, Marianna Bert 5, Skyla Mackey 5, Angel Dube 3, Chastity Brown-Littleton 2, Shataelyn King 2, Taylor Medrick 1.