CLEBURNE -- After their decisive 56-37 home win over District 8-4A foe Burleson on Tuesday, Cleburne has come full circle from where the team was a year ago.
"A lot of these girls were around here and experienced a 10-win season last year," Cleburne coach Jamie Calahan said.
"To get that 20th win this year is something special for them, and it's all due to their never-quit attitude."
Cleburne locked down a second-place district finish behind Waco.
The Lady Jackets (20-11, 10-2) were off and running from Tuesday's first whistle.
Cleburne led the whole way, fueled by Hillary King's 3-pointer on the first possession.
Guards Bria McCullough and Courtney Jeffcoat paced Cleburne from that point. McCullough led all scorers with 16 points, Jeffcoat had 15 points on four 3-pointers and also had seven steals.
"That's her M.O. She's everywhere for us," Calahan said of Jeffcoat. "But teams can't focus on her too much because if they do, McCullough can do damage as well."
Burleson (19-10, 8-4) received a double dose of the backcourt tandem all evening.
"We played like we hoped we would win," Burleson coach Rusty East said. "Cleburne just flat outplayed us from the opening whistle."
But the game was not without its tense moments. Burleson stuck around in the first half behind the play of sophomore Mackenzie Hailey, who led the team with 15 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and four steals.
Her three-point play in the post cut Cleburne's lead to 22-16 with 24 seconds left before halftime.
After Cleburne took a 22-17 lead into the break, Burleson's Morgan Landers hit a 3-pointer on the second half's opening possession to bring the Lady Elks to within two, down 22-20.
But the Jackets finished the third quarter on a 20-6 run, including Jeffcoat's long-range buzzer-beating 3-pointer that put Cleburne ahead 42-26 headed to the fourth.
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