MISSOURI CITY – It’s never a good time to have a bad shooting night, especially in the playoffs.
MISSOURI CITY – Cinco Ranch’s girls basketball team used stingy defense and the reliable scoring skills of senior guard Abby Bala to earn a 57-38 win over George Ranch in their Class 6A bi-district playoff game on Thursday, Feb. 11, at Hopson Field House.
George Ranch never got anything going against the Cougars’ tough defense, falling behind early, scoring 12 points in the first half and allowing Cinco Ranch to build a momentum it never lost control of.
The Cougars advanced to the area round against undefeated Cypress Creek, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A in the state at 26-0. It was the first playoff win for Cinco Ranch since the 2014-15 season.
Under new head coach Tamara Collier, the Cougars are hunting their first area playoff win since 2008-09.
Bala scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the first half as the Cougars locked the Longhorns down on defense, which led to a lot of easy offensive opportunities in transition on the other end of the floor.
Bala scored seven points in the first quarter, knocking down mid-range jumpers to put Cinco Ranch up 11-8. Then she showed some range, hitting a 3-pointer and helping the Cougars break the game open in a big way during a 16-4 run in the second quarter for a 27-12 lead at halftime.
George Ranch finally generated some offense in the third quarter as junior guard Savannah Velazquez scored six points by attacking the basket against Cinco Ranch’s taller frontcourt, but it was too late. Every time the Longhorns got a score, Cinco Ranch had an answer. Bala continued to stay hot with her perimeter shooting, and junior forward Madison Mascorro added a couple of buckets in the third to help the Cougars maintain a 14-point lead.
George Ranch’s offense again went south early in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns scored their first points in the period with three minutes remaining. By then, Cinco Ranch had built a 20-point lead, thanks to a nine-point effort in the quarter by sophomore Danielle Williams, who had 12 points.
Velazquez led George Ranch with 12 points.
Cinco Ranch, the No. 3 seed out of District 19-6A, moved to 13-6 this season, while George Ranch, the No. 2 seed out of 20-6A, finished with a 15-9 record.