FORT WORTH, Texas -- When Duncanville’s top four scorers on the season combined for just two points in the first half, Ariel Atkins came to the rescue.
Atkins scored a game-high 22 points (16 in the first half) and teammate Antiona Robinson came off the bench to score three needed buckets to stop a second-period slide in a 60-46 Class 5A Region I quarterfinal victory over Southlake Carroll on Tuesday night at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
“As a coach, you want to make somebody beat you besides the team’s superstars,’’ Carroll coach Teri Morrison said. “That’s exactly what Duncanville did to us tonight.’’
Atkins, a 5-9 sophomore guard, did most of her damage within 10 feet of the Carroll basket by finding openings in the zone defense. She connected on 10-of-16 shots and led all rebounders with 10.
“My teammates were finding me with the ball and counting on me to finish,’’ said Atkins, who came into the game averaging 9.6 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Duncanville (36-1), No. 2 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10, earned a return to Wilkerson-Greines to face Amarillo at 8 p.m. Friday in a Region I semifinal.
Despite a 15-8 lead after a quarter, trouble loomed for Duncanville when Kiara Perry went to the bench for the remainder of the half with three fouls in the game’s first five minutes. Texas-bound guard Empress Davenport, troubled by a hand injury, missed all six of her first-half shots. Guards Morgan Bolton and Tasia Foman combined for only five shots in the first half.
Kate Lewis, a 6-1 junior, came off the Carroll bench to score eight second-period points, whittling Duncanville’s lead at the break to four, 27-23.
The No. 5 ranked Lady Dragons (30-4) never led, but could have tied on a Sierra Maykus’ 3-pointer that bounced off the back rim early in the third period. Carroll was 3-of-13 from behind the arc.
Maykus led Carroll with 13 points and Lewis finished with 12.
"Duncanville’s defense was outstanding and when we had shots, we didn’t shoot very well,’’ Morrison said.
Carroll's 2010-2011 season also ended with a third-round playoff loss to Duncanville.
“We came out in the third quarter knowing that we had to run and push the ball,’’ said Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan. “We wanted to up the defensive pressure and wear ‘em down.’’
Once the Pantherettes started running, everybody started getting in the scoring act again.
Duncanville’s lead hovered around 10 points for most of the fourth quarter and Carroll was forced to foul in the final minutes.
“Teri’s team worked hard and never quit,’’ Self-Morgan said. “There’s no slackers in our group, either.’’