ET Girls Basketball Playoffs: Gilmer rolls past Carthage in opener
A 12-0 run to open the game put Carthage in a deep hole. Kyla Grant made sure the Lady Bulldogs stayed there.
Grant, a 6-2 senior, dominated the paint from the opening tip until she exited midway through the fourth quarter, leading the Gilmer Lady Buckeyes to a 59-26 win over Carthage in a Class 4A bi-district playoff game on Monday at Pine Tree's Pirate Center.
Grant finished the night with 24 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Gilmer improved to 29-6 on the year with a dominant performance. The Lady Buckeyes will move on to face either Liberty-Eylau or Mabank in area action later this week.
Carthage ends its season with a 9-8 record.
Sharday Haley and Haylee Jordan joined Grant in double figures with 10 points apiece. Haley added seven rebounds and seven assists and Jordan chipped in with nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Meshia Shead finished with nine points, Alexis Mathis two and Augusta Hampton, Reese Couture and Deja Bonner one apiece.
Zee McGrue and Jada McLin had six points apiece in the loss for Carthage, with McLin adding six rebounds. Blissett finished with three points.
Haley dished to Grant and Shead for back-to-back buckets to open the contest, and then Grant simply took over inside – finishing with 10 points in the first quarter. Haley had five assists in the first eight minutes, and Shead knocked down a jumper at the buzzer to give Gilmer a 19-5 cushion.
Back-to-back hoops by Shead and Grant and a free throw from Jordan to open the second stanza ended the competitive portion of the contest.
The lead hit 21 (30-9) following a running jumper by Haley, and the Lady Buckeyes enjoyed a 32-13 cushion at the break after McLin knocked down a turnaround jumper for Carthage to end the half.
The Lady Bulldogs battled in the third quarter, pulling to within 38-19 after a free throw and a triple by McGrue, but Gilmer led 39-19 heading to the fourth and then scored the first 17 points of the final quarter to turn things into a rout.
Jordan had seven points in the fourth, and Grant capped her big night with two free throws at the 4:24 mark to make it 53-19 before taking a seat for the rest of the night and letting the bench finishing things.
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports).