High School Girls Basketball

No. 14 Tompkins overwhelms Travis in bi-district playoff rout

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 2/11/21

For about four minutes, Tompkins’ Class 6A bi-district girls basketball playoff game was competitive. Fort Bend Travis, the No. 4 seed out of District 20-6A, quickly established momentum and energy against the District 19-6A champions, and the game was tied at six halfway into the first quarter.

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High School Girls Basketball

No. 14 Tompkins overwhelms Travis in bi-district playoff rout

Posted

For about four minutes, Tompkins’ Class 6A bi-district girls basketball playoff game was competitive. Fort Bend Travis, the No. 4 seed out of District 20-6A, quickly established momentum and energy against the District 19-6A champions, and the game was tied at six halfway into the first quarter.

And then the Falcons went to their hellacious ‘21’ press defense and, well, that was that.

A close game turned into a 12-2 Tompkins run, and the Falcons rolled from there, earning a 68-37 win over the Tigers on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Merrell Center.

Tompkins, ranked No. 14 in Class 6A in the state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, improved to 18-3 and advanced to the area playoffs to play Memorial (19-7).

It’s a meaningful stage of the postseason for Tompkins. Though the Falcons are back-to-back undefeated district champions, they fell in the area round last season in a two-point setback to Cy-Fair.

“Obviously, nothing’s perfect,” Johnson said of the win over Travis. “We still have things to work on, defensively and offensively. But I think we’re looking good so far and going in the right direction.”

The Falcons forced 29 turnovers as the Tigers got hardly anything going offensively. Travis made only 14 field goals and had five more turnovers at the half (16) than points (11).

It was typical of a Tompkins defense surrendering just 36.7 points per game this season, ignited by a ferocious press defense engineered by the length, athleticism and confidence of the Falcons’ guards and wings.

“We know it does create a lot for us on offense and it definitely does intimidate other teams to where they’re scared bringing the ball up against us,” Tompkins sophomore guard Loghan Johnson said of the Falcons’ press. “I know they hear about our defense, and I think all of that helps us.”

Tompkins scored 41 points in the first half, buoyed by a slew of easy baskets thanks to turnovers. The Falcons started the game in their base halfcourt man defense before coach Tamatha Ray unleashed defensive chaos.

“The idea is for the kids to get settled in for the first 2-3 minutes, and that lets me assess the opponent and where we’re at,” Ray said. “The ball wasn’t dropping for us … it’s more of a feel thing than a plan. The plan is we’re going to press. I just don’t know when.”

With the offense struggling early in the first quarter, Ray went to the press, sparked by senior guard Crystal Smith. The next few minutes felt like a bizarre case of déjà vu over and over again.

Tompkins would force a turnover, the ball would end up in Smith’s hands, and she’d deliver to Johnson for an easy layup. Wash, rinse, repeat. The onslaught resulted in a 14-point first quarter for Johnson.

Johnson finished with a game-high 20 points, but she had plenty of help. Depth and two-way playmaking have been strengths of this Tompkins team.

Ray has juggled the starting lineup often this season; only senior post Kenzie Durnford has been a consistent starter. But that has only established confidence and assuredness in other players, and it showed against Travis.

Sophomore guard Macy Spencer, a recent revelation as a defensive standout and perimeter shooter, scored 15 points to go with four steals. Smith, who did not start against Travis, added 11 points, six assists and four steals. Sophomore guard/forward Fiyin Adeleye, a platoon starter at forward with senior Ashley Ngene, scored nine points to go with four rebounds and three steals.

Durnford added six points and eight rebounds.

“It’s nice to have that luxury of, depending on which players don’t start, we actually get stronger when I do make subs,” Ray said. “I know what I have in the back of my head. I go back and forth between Fiyin and Ashley, for instance, and I know I’ll get a big boost either way. We have a post that’s a guard (Adeleye). We use her for versatility. Same thing with Loghan, who can guard a post. It’s a luxury to have that type of versatility in players, and I tip my hat to them because it’s total buy-in. Whatever we need them to do, they’ll do it.”

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