WEATHERFORD — Cleburne can score with anyone because of its long-range shooting ability, but on Friday night, it was the Yellow Jackets’ effort on defense that paid off against Denton Guyer.
With the score tied at 60-all and 11 seconds left, Cleburne’s Jazlin Jones dove after a loose ball at midcourt and tipped it ahead to Bria McCullough, who made the game-winning layup in a 62-60 come-from-behind victory in the Class 4A area-round playoffs at Weatherford High School.
“Once I got the ball, I knew this was all on me,” said McCullough, who finished with 16 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. “I knew I was going to score that bucket.”
Cleburne (25-7) trailed Guyer most of the way, but momentum began to turn when Cleburne coach Jamie Calahan picked up a technical foul with his team trailing by five at 1:59 remaining in the third quarter.
The technical sparked the Yellow Jackets, who used defensive pressure to go on a 17-6 run that gave Cleburne its first lead since midway in the first quarter.
“We don’t back down to adversity,” Cleburne guard Courtney Jeffcoat said. “[Coach Calahan] showed he’s going to back us up, so it was our turn to back him up.”
Cleburne held Guyer (23-6) to nine points in the third quarter.
“We went back to the basics; we moved our feet and played defense,” Calahan said. “Defense is what we preach. When you defend, you’re going to win games.”
Defensive stops led to more offensive opportunities for Cleburne guard Courtney Jeffcoat, who finished with a game-high 29 points.
“It was one of those games for me tonight,” said Jeffcoat, who finished with a game-high 29 points, including six 3-pointers. “Coach told me to let it go, so I did and kept shooting.”
The Wildcats were out of timeouts after McCullough’s layup and Lauren Heard’s three-quarter-court desperation shot to win the game came up short.
Cleburne will play Aledo, the No. 2 team in the state, in the regional quarterfinals, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at one of the Mansfield schools, Aledo coach Mike Pinkerton said.
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