As it has for most of the season, Aledo got off to a fast start, jumping to an 18-point lead after the first quarter Friday night against Trophy Club Nelson.
The Bearcats, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A in a Texas coaches poll, used the early cushion to defeat Nelson 53-45 in a Class 4A Region I area-round playoff game at Saginaw Chisholm Trail High School.
Aledo (27-3) meets Denton Guyer or Cleburne next week at a time and site to be determined.
“We had a huge letdown and that is something we can’t continue to do and be successful,” Aledo coach Mike Pinkerton said. “We just sat back on our heels and let them get back into it. I told them there in the third quarter we just have to settle down and get back to what we do.”
Aledo went on a 17-0 run to end the first quarter and led 22-4. Nelson, however, was able to trim the deficit to 12 at halftime.
The Bobcats (24-8) started the second half on fire with their shooting. Madison Edwards hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, her last one cutting Aledo’s lead to 34-31 with 3:31 to play in the period. Edwards finished with a team-high 16 points.
Justis Szczepanski-Beavers, to whom Aledo fed the ball in the lopsided first quarter, scored four consecutive points as Aledo ended the third quarter ahead 40-31. She finished with a team-high 14 points.
Aledo stretched the lead to 46-31 just under two minutes into the fourth quarter. Nelson’s Tralyn Woodard then made back-to-back 3s to make it a 46-37 game with 5:17 to play.
Trailing 48-41 after Shaila Walter’s basket with 2:52 to play, Nelson missed its next six shots, including two layups. In that same stretch, Aledo missed the front end of two 1-and-1’s and turned it over three times.
The Bearcats sealed the game by hitting 5 of 8 free throws.
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