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Plano West uses speed to zoom past Cedar Hill

FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- Plano West has speed, Cedar Hill has size, and whichever team got the most out of its advantage was likely to win their area-round matchup on Friday at Flower Mound High School.

About halfway through the first quarter, it was clear Plano West's speed was too much for the Lady Longhorns.

The Lady Wolves ran Cedar Hill's man defense ragged en route to a comfortable 65-51 win, striking the latest blow in what's become an annual date in the playoffs between the two teams.

Plano West (34-2) advances to face defending champion Irving MacArthur.

"We knew we couldn't matchup with them man-on-man inside," said Plano West head coach Don Patterson. "We've played them enough this year to know what to do. We got out running a little bit."

Cedar Hill (28-7) had a clear size advantage over a slightly small Plano West team, but with the Lady Longhorns playing man defense, Plano West ran them all over the court.

Forwards LaBrittney Jones and Jada Terry would have been terrific defenders if they could have stayed in and around the paint, but instead they were dragged out beyond the arc while chasing Plano West, which allowed the Lady Wolves' guards free passage to the rim.

"Luckily our team has so many strong players that can all get to the bucket," said Plano West guard Devri Owens. "They had to guard all of us instead of just one person, and that helped us spread them out."

Plano West's focus defensively was also Jones and Terry. The Lady Wolves deviated from their typical base defense in favor of a 2-3 zone, hoping to deny Jones and Terry the ball inside.

It worked. Cedar Hill spent most of its possessions meandering around the perimeter, not finding any good shots from the outside and unable to get the ball inside for a better look.

With Cedar Hill's size advantage neutralized on both ends of the court, Plano West coasted to the win.

"We were just squeezing in a bit to make sure their bigs didn't kill us inside," Patterson said. "Thankfully they weren't hitting shots from the outside."

Owens got things started for Plano West in the first quarter, scoring her team's first eight points, including two 3-pointers from well behind the arc. She finished with 14 points, tied for the team high with Brea Mitchell.

"I was feeling good," Owens said. "Our team was really excited and I just wanted to come out and play as hard as I could."

Owens' sharp shooting helped the Lady Wolves jump out to a 21-6 lead in the first, and they led 38-23 by halftime.

Cedar Hill finally got some momentum late in the third quarter when Candice Adams and Alecia Smith hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark an 8-0 that cut Plano West's lead to eight.

But it was merely a lull in Plano West's dominating performance. The Lady Wolves recommitted to spreading out Cedar Hill's defense in the fourth and never looked back.

"The biggest thing is that we were just making silly turnovers," Patterson said. "We'd get a rebound and then give it right back to them. It was just a matter of getting things under control. Catch the ball with two hands. Do what we do in practice."