Courtney Jeffcoat scored 16 points as Cleburne upset second-ranked Aledo 52-49 in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal Tuesday at Lake Ridge High School.
Cleburne (27-7) will advance to the 4A Region I tournament and face No. 4 Canyon in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Friday at The Coliseum in Snyder.
“Both feel really good,” said Jeffcoat when asked what was better, beating Aledo or going to the regional tournament. “We had a lot of doubters and were the underdog, but it feels so good that we came out on top.”
The Yellow Jackets used a quick, smothering defense that forced Aledo (27-4) into tough shots that just didn’t fall early, and Cleburne seemingly made everything thrown up in the first half.
The Bearcats rallied to within one point twice in the first quarter, but Jazlin Jones sparked a 7-0 run by Cleburne to a 17-9 lead after one and another 8-3 run built a 33-21 lead at the half.
The Bearcats chipped away in the second half behind Alyssa Dry and Justis Szczepanski-Beavers who had 19 and 14 points, respectively.
Aledo cut the lead to five at 39-34 on a basket by Dry with 1:12 left in the third quarter, but Cleburne answered with another 7-0 run to go back up by 12.
“Defend and rebound, that’s been our motto since I took over the program,” Cleburne coach Jamie Calahan said. “We preach defense and we did a very good job of that tonight.”
Aledo pulled within 50-47 after a 3-pointer by Megan Wood with 1:21 left, but the Bearcats missed on a 3-point attempt and another field goal while Jeffcoat hit two of four free-throw attempts down the stretch to seal the victory.
Aledo not only struggled from the field, but also from the free-throw line hitting only 7-of-18 on the night.