WHEELER • The Ingomar girls clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday.
The Lady Falcons beat Smithville, 64-51, in the first round of the Division 2-1A tournament held at Wheeler High School. Sophomore Katie Beth Hall scored 21 points while seventh graders Kylee Johnson added 18 and Macie Phifer added 10.
Ingomar will now face Baldwyn, the No. 1 seed, in the semifinals on Thursday at 7 p.m. Smithville’s season ended at 9-17.
“For our team and how young we are, this is big because getting into the playoffs was one of our goals entering the year,” Ingomar coach Trent Adair said. “We wanted to get that experience of playing in an elimination setting. We had that tonight, but we wanted one in a playoff setting too.”
It didn’t come easy for Ingomar (11-20), which found itself down by two points, 17-15, at the end of the first quarter. Smithville’s Orlandria Smith found her hot streak early and had 13 points in the quarter, while Johnson had seven points for the Lady Falcons.
Smith added eight more points in the second quarter, and Smithville led 35-32 at half.
The teams traded baskets throughout the third quarter until Smith fouled out. Playing with three fouls, she was called for a charge and instantly called for a technical foul to end her night.
Immediately after her two fouls, Smithville coach Brian McCollum was also called for a tech and Ingomar made three free throws to take a 48-47 lead into the final quarter.
“It completely changed the game when she fouled out,” Adair said. “She’s an elite athlete and for us, not being able to run with her, it changed our mindset when she was out.”
Smithville was held without a field goal and scored only four points in the fourth quarter, while Ingomar pulled away with an early 11-1 run and made the free throws it needed to secure the win.
Turning Point: Smith fouled out with the game tied, 45-45, with 1:13 left in the third quarter. Ingomar then outscored Smithville by 15 points the rest of the way.
Point Maker: Fifteen of Hall’s team-high 21 points came in the second half.
Talking Point: “I usually shoot well in the third quarter because I have time to think about how I’m going to do. I felt like I needed to step up for the team.” – Hall, on her shooting success