In a state-ranked girls matchup, the Kennedale Wildcats exploded in the second half to beat the Wall Hawks 57-41 during the quarterfinals of the Whataburger tournament on Thursday at Saginaw High School.
The first half was a defensive battle, which is in the Lombard DNA - Wall is led by coach Tate Lombard while his father is hall of fame coach Joe Lombard at Canyon, his sister Lindy coaches at Grapevine.
Kennedale (20-3) managed to take a 13-11 lead after the first quarter before Wall went ahead 15-13 early in the second. A few free throws and a late basket by Dajia Simmons sent the Wildcats into halftime leading 23-18 over the Hawks, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A.
The Wildcats, No. 4 in Class 4A, didn’t let up and exploded in the third quarter with 25 points, holding Wall to only eight, and led 48-26 after three. Payton Williams scored eight of her 11 points in the period and hit a floater to beat the buzzer.
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Lucy Benson added six of her game-high 15 points in the third, and scored six more in the fourth. Evie Whorley, who was on the Star Telegram super team last season, led Kennedale in the first half with nine of her 10 points. Taylor Austin added eight.
Kennedale will play in the semifinals, 6 p.m. at Saginaw against Little River Academy, which won 38-23 over Sanger on Thursday.