"It means everything," Spurlock said. When kids set goals, it’s our job as coaches to make sure they reach their goals. It’s for the representation of every player who has put on the uniform here at Seven Lakes. I’m excited to get back to the regional tournament, and if not us, who?”
Justice Carlton has continued to raise the bar in her sophomore season.
That has continued into the playoffs, as Carlton has kept increasing her level of play game after game.
“It looks like the whole thing revolves around Justice, but really, Justice is the center of all things revolving,” said Seven Lakes head coach Angela Spurlock. “We don’t play better unless she plays better, and then when she starts to play better and put together nights like that, other players have more confidence.”
The sophomore forward may not yet know her own peak, but Carlton keeps resetting the bar and had one of her best games yet on Tuesday at the Merrell Center, as she put together a 42 point, 21 rebound, 10 block game to help Seven Lakes beat Fort Bend Austin 69-46 and advance to the regional tournament.
“At this point, it’s not about the points, it’s not about the rebounds and it’s not about the blocks,” Carlton said. It’s about just doing it for my team. I’m just trying to do what it takes to win for my teammates at this point.”
Seven Lakes got off to a tremendous start in the game but Austin stayed close through one quarter as the Spartans led 17-11. But Seven Lakes opened things up in the second behind an onslaught on offense to take a 38-22 lead into the half, as Carlton scored 26 points in just the first two quarters.
“We knew it would be important to have a fast start,” Carlton said. I feel like my teammates understood the assignment and we saw getting it inside was working, so they kept feeding it there and it gave us that momentum and energy early in the game. That definitely helped us.”
The Spartans put things beyond a doubt, as they allowed just seven points in the third quarter and then cruised to the win in the fourth.
It’s the first regional semifinal appearance for Seven Lakes since the 2012-13 season, and the group is excited for the opportunity.
“I’m super excited, I know these girls are super excited too,” Carlton said. “None of us have ever gotten the chance to play in a regional tournament before, so it’s a new one for us and we just want to go out and make history with this chance.”
Seven Lakes will play Pearland at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at the Merrell Center with a shot at the regional final on the line.
“It mean’s a lot,” Spurlock said. “This will be my third time as a coach to make the regional tournament and the second time for Seven Lakes. It means everything, because when kids set goals, it’s our job as coaches to make sure they reach their goals. It’s not for me, it’s for the representation of every player who has put on the uniform here at Seven Lakes, and there’s been some good ones. I’m excited to get back to the regional tournament, and if not us, who?”
Class 6A Regional Quarterfinal
Seven Lakes 69, Fort Bend Austin 44
Points: (SL) Justice Carlton 42, KK Tucker 14, Summer Halphen 7, Aliyah Atiqi 4, Caitlyn Quintero 2; (A) Andrea Sturdivant 19, Gabrielle Johnson 10, Aminah Dixon 5, Kelechi Dike 5, India Jackson 4
Halftime: Halftime: Seven Lakes 38-22; 3-pointers: (SL) Carlton 2, Tucker, Halphen; (A) Sturdivant, Dixon; Records: Seven Lakes 33-6; Fort Bend Austin 29-6
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