A dominant third quarter propelled Ursuline into the Calss 4A girls basketball quarterfinals.
The Lions outscored Ellender 23-5 in the third period en route to a 66-48 victory on Monday. Ursuline will face St. Thomas More in the quarterfinal round. It’s the first time Ursuline has advanced to the quarterfinals under coach Andre Williams.
“I told the girls at halftime that the game was far from over,” Williams said. “I said (they) need to make a strong statement ... and put the team away in the third quarter. And they came out twice as good as they did in the first half.”
Ursuline came out of halftime with a 32-26 lead. The Lions looked like they might pull away early when they went up by nine in the early second quarter, but the Patriots used a combination of full-court pressures and double teams to stall Ursuline’s offense and gradually claw their way back in.
“They made a run, but I was proud of my girls because they kept the lead,” Williams said. “That’s all that matters.”
The Lions’ 3-2 zone defense gave Ellender plenty of trouble. The Patriots struggled to get the ball inside and were unable to make perimeter shots needed to break the Lions’ zone.
“I think the zone defense was very good tonight,” Williams said. “The one thing I want us to get better is the offensive rebounds. Most of Ellender’s points came off of offensive rebounds or turnovers. I think our half-court defense is where it needs to be. We just have to fine-tune some things.”
Giordion Johnson sparked Ursuline’s third quarter roll by sinking back-to-back 3-pointers to double Ursuline’s lead to 12. Kourtney Weber and Brooklyn Mitchell keyed the rest of the surge. Weber scored a game-high 24 points, with 12 coming in the second half.
“It was pretty good,” Weber said. “My teammates got me the ball, and I capitalized.”
Mitchell finished with 18 points on the night, also doing most of her damage in the second half.
“I started off a little slow, but I picked it up,” Mitchell said. “I realized we needed buckets, so it was time to lock in and score.”
Mitchell commended the efforts of her leading scorers.
“Those two played hard tonight. They gave it everything they’ve got,” Williams said. “They sacrificed their bodies for the team tonight.”