A string of 3-pointers and a stingy full-court press gave Trophy Club Nelson just the cushion it needed by halftime Monday night.
And a strong third quarter with more of the same pushed the Bobcats to an easy 51-33 victory over Birdville in a Class 4A bi-district game at Saginaw High School.
Nelson (24-7) meets Burleson or state No. 2 Aledo in the area around Friday night at Saginaw Chisholm Trail High School.
Nelson’s Madison Edwards made a layup with 7:15 left in the first quarter, giving the Bobcats an opening lead they would maintain throughout the rest of the game. At one point the Bobcats led Birdville (20-9) by 30. Nelson led 31-13 at halftime.
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Sydney Smallwood powered the Bobcats, hitting five 3-pointers and finishing with 17 points. Nelson coach Darren Wilson said Monday’s game played out exactly the way Nelson planned it: Get the ball to the perimeter and hit 3-pointers. The Bobcats finished with seven 3s as a team.
For Birdville, it was a struggle on offense. The Hawks were limited to 13 points in the first half and found problems weaving through Nelson’s full-court press.
“Our whole game plan was to take their point guard out of the game — make somebody else bring the ball up,” Wilson said. “We put pressure on them at every spot on the court so they couldn’t get in a rhythm offensively.”
After leading 47-17 and holding Birdville to four points in the third quarter, Nelson allowed the Hawks a slight chance in the final 7 minutes of the game. Harley Ness hit a pair of 3-pointers for Birdville, which finished the game on a 15-2 run. But by that time, Nelson’s couldn’t be caught.
Ness and Brittany Perraut led Birdville with 10 points.