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) met Cleburne (25-7) Tuesday at Mansfield Lake Ridge. Results weren’t available at press time but visit dfwvarsity.com for results.
“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.
Aledo boys lock up playoff berth, take on Everman
Shooting guard Dawson Gates is usually among the cast of consistent characters for the Aledo basketball team.
With a playoff berth on the line Feb. 12, and having just regained his starting spot, Gates stole the show with 17 points in a 55-46 District 7-4A victory against Fort Worth South Hills at South Hills’ gymnasium.
The victory clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in District 7-4A for Aledo (13-15, 7-7 7-4A) and sent the Bearcats into a bi-district matchup with Everman (24-3) Tuesday night at Brewer High School. Results weren’t available at press time but check dfwvarsity.com for results.
“I can’t say enough about how important his play was tonight,” Aledo coach Steve Smith said of Gates. “With the different matchups we faced in district, I decided to have him come off the bench for a lot of it. But I felt like going with smaller lineup was best tonight, and he proved me right.”
Gates made three consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half, which allowed Aledo to grab an 11-point lead early in the third quarter.
That margin proved too much to overcome for South Hills (15-12, 6-8), which needed a win to take the final spot from Aledo.
Gates’ touch during that stretch was key as the Scorpions got consecutive 3-pointers of their own to open the third quarter as well.
Aledo point guard Luke Bishop said team defense after that was paramount.
“You’ve got to give them credit, they’re backs were against the wall like ours were and they made some plays,” Bishop said. “For us, I think we’re playing some good basketball, and if we can keep doing this, we might can make a run here.”
Kyle Hickey led South Hills with 15 points and brother Andrew Hickey had nine.
Aledo’s Carl Williams had 11 points and Bishop finished with 10.