Tompkins High School, Falcons, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Falcons earn key win over Cougars, stay undefeated in 19-6A

By STEPHEN GREENWELL, Times Correspondent
Posted 1/3/20

The Tompkins girls’ basketball team survived its first true test of its District 19-6A schedule on Friday, Jan. 3, holding on for a 48-45 win over Cinco Ranch.

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Tompkins High School, Falcons, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Falcons earn key win over Cougars, stay undefeated in 19-6A

Posted

The Tompkins girls’ basketball team survived its first true test of its District 19-6A schedule on Friday, Jan. 3, holding on for a 48-45 win over Cinco Ranch.

Junior guard Crystal Smith led the Falcons with 14 points, followed by freshman guard Loghan Johnson with 11. However, both were pressed and double-teamed throughout the night, which led to buckets in the paint for freshman Fiyin Adeleye (10 points), senior Sovereign Mack (six) and junior Kenzie Durnford (five).

“When I’m getting challenged like that, I’m focused on the idea that since there’s two on me, someone must be open,” Smith said of the pressure. “I look a lot for my teammates flashing to the block, which leads to layups, keeping my eyes up.”

Smith also noted that because she and Johnson both have strong ballhandling skills, they can play off each other and stretch the defense out.

“They really have to choose one of us,” she said. “So whatever one is being taken out, the other one has the opportunity to use their teammates.”

The Falcons handed the Cougars their first loss in district play while improving to 2-0.

It was a physical game, though the whistles were kept silent for much of it. Cinco Ranch (16-7, 2-1 District 19-6A) jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but Tompkins cut the lead to 14-13 by the end of the first quarter. The Falcons (23-3, 2-0) led by four at the half and by 10 with 3:32 remaining, but the Cougars refused to go away quietly.

The late Cinco Ranch rally actually came after a scary play and the loss of its star player. Senior forward Cat Hursh contested a fast-break layup attempt by Smith, colliding with her in the process and landing hard on the floor. Hursh did not return to the game, and afterward, Smith had a long floor burn on her arm.

Despite missing Hursh, the Cougars battled back with a bucket and two free throws from senior Victoria Huggins, a layup by sophomore Peniel Otto and a 3-pointer from junior Abby Bala.

With 1:01 left, a layup by Adeleye put Tompkins up 48-41. However, Huggins hit a short jumper in the paint, and at the other end, Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free-throw situation with 23.2 seconds remaining.

Taking the ball quickly upcourt, Bala found senior Taylor Rowland in the paint for another layup with about 14 seconds left, cutting the Tompkins lead to 48-45.

Without any timeouts, Cinco Ranch couldn’t stop the clock but defended the inbound pass well, with sophomore Madison Mascorro coming up with the ball in a crowd. However, the Cougars missed a layup and Tompkins controlled the rebound, with Adeleye tossing the ball upcourt to run out the clock.

Huggins led the Cougars with 10 points. Bala also filled the stat sheet with eight points and six steals. Mascorro had seven points in the first half, but struggled to find open looks in the second, with Smith and Johnson usually covering her.

Tompkins coach Tamatha Ray praised the composure of Adeleye, noting that she’s recently returned to the starting lineup after a tough start to the season. Against Cinco Ranch, Adeleye had three offensive fouls and zero points in the first half before playing impressively in the second half.

At halftime, Ray said she told Adeleye to “keep her head in the game, because we need her. Obviously, she’s a huge difference-maker and she has a really good nose for the basketball and she’s a good finisher. I knew that she was going to get another opportunity because she’s a good basketball player.”

In the game’s final three minutes, Tompkins also chose to take open midrange shots, rather than working the ball around for better looks. Ray laughed when she was asked about it, noting that she did have to take a timeout.

“I got them settled down,” she said. “They understood. It was district game No. 2, and they’ll learn.”

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