SALTILLO • The Saltillo girls basketball team saw its season come to an end on Monday night.
Cleveland Central beat Saltillo, 36-23, in the first round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs. Saltillo (16-4) was held to only eight field goals and turned the ball over 19 times. Mya Bobo and Janiah Hinton, Saltillo’s leading scorers, were held to only 10 combined points.
The Tigers were eliminated from the playoffs, while Cleveland Central advances to play Vicksburg in the second round.
“They were applying some pressure on the ball and trying to get us out of sync,” Saltillo coach Titus Goree said. “They play really good help defense, especially on the first side, so that’s why we tried to get the ball over to the other side. They did a really good job defensively.”
Saltillo’s Janiah Hinton made the first basket of the game, a 3-pointer, but the Tigers couldn’t muster another point in the first quarter. Cleveland Central only had two field goals, but led 7-3 at the end of the quarter.
To open the second quarter, Takeila Wright made three 3-pointers in the first five minute and Cleveland Central jumped ahead, 17-5.
Saltillo turned it into a seven-point game, but the Lady Wolves ended the quarter on a 6-0 run in the last minute and led 23-10 at the break.
“That gave us a lot of momentum, and it was just nice to have her hit those shots to give us a gap and separation,” Cleveland Central coach Whitney Williams said. “We weren’t scoring at first and were struggling, but the shots became more open as our defense played well.”
Saltillo was held to four points and only one field goal in the third quarter, and couldn’t cut the lead any closer than 12 points in the second half.
Turning Point: Wright hit three 3-pointers during a 10-2 run in the second quarter to put the Lady Wolves up by 12 points.
Point Maker: Madison Gardner led Saltillo with 11 points.
Talking Point: “This class was the first one I had when I came in, and they made it through four years with me. Every one of them came in every day and tried to get better, and the biggest thing about them is their hearts. They cared about each other and they cared about getting better every day, both on and off the court.” – Titus Goree, about his seniors