Three Southern Brazoria County girls basketball teams — all from the same district — are hoping to make long runs into the Class 4A Region III playoffs starting tonight.
The Brazosport Lady Exporters, Columbia Lady 'Necks and Sweeny Lady Bulldogs each qualified out of District 24-4A, which Brazosport won by going undefeated.
The Lady Ships (21-8) start their postseason run against Houston Wheatley (15-17) at 7:30 p.m. today at E.E "Flash" Walker Gym in a bi-district matchup.
Brazosport could be looking for some revenge after making a quick playoff exit a year ago at the hands of the Lady Wildcats, who won their opening-round contest, 52-44. The Lady Ships expect a different result this time.
"Confidence is pretty high right now, but they're also pretty humble. They know what it feels like to lose because we did lose to them in the first round last year," Brazosport head coach Kayla Josey said. "They're excited to be here again and kind of get their revenge here against them."
Wheatley is on a two-game losing streak coming into the game while Brazosport hasn't lost since Dec. 28, riding a 10-game winning streak into a district championship.
Josey knows the Lady Wildcats like to play man defense and believes her team's speed and athleticism will help the Lady Ships get a home win.
"We expect them to press and we're pretty quick, so I think that will be an advantage to us because of our speed," she said.
Josey said seniors Simone Fuller and Mikaya Burton don't take any playoff game for granted. They have made the playoffs all four years and not made it past the second round.
The winner of the game will play either Tarkington or Silsbee in the area round Friday.
The Lady ’Necks (16-10) don't have to travel far to take on Houston Kashmere (12-7) as they will play in the opener of a doubleheader E.E. "Flash" Walker Gym. Tip-off will be at 5:30 p.m. today.
"I think if we can keep their point guard from penetrating and keep their senior post under control, we have a chance," Columbia head coach Brett Nidey said. "If you can get under their skin, they fall apart, so hopefully we play good and get them irritated. That'll be good for us."
Finishing second in District 24-4A, Columbia is led by juniors Jamoryai Butler and Kirsten Bragg. Butler averages 14.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while Bragg has 13.7 points, four rebounds and 4.3 steals.
The Lady 'Necks and are comfortable pressuring their opponents into turnovers. However, they've played well as of late in half-court defense and Nidey doesn't want to give the Lady Rams any chance for easy baskets, he said.
"They don't handle the ball very well. Now that doesn't mean they can't come in and shot the lights out, but we're going to make sure we don't give anything easy," Nidey said. "We're not going to press and see how that starts and make them earn everything. Our half-court defense has been really solid lately."
Seniors Myriah Wessells and Jada Rhoades are enjoying the success the team has had this season and are excited for the opportunity to be in playoffs, Nidey said.
The winner of the game will face the victor of West Orange-Stark or Livingston on Friday.
The Lady Bulldogs (10-17), who spewnt a good part of the early season barely having enough players to take the court, have an uphill battle against Houston Yates (21-5) at 5:30 p.m. at Barnett Gym in Houston.
The Lady Dogs have been plagued with injuries all year, but they're confident they can pull an upset today.
"Yates is an in-your-face team that presses the whole time, and that's their bread and butter," Sweeny head coach Dwayne Stevens said. "We've been watching film and scrimmaging against our guys to simulate that athleticism and aggression, and we feel if we protect the ball and can score, we will win."
Led by sophomore Asha Strauther's 13.9 points per game, the Lady Bulldogs think they can match up against the Yates defense. Seniors Anna Green and Brandi Fields have had their share of success in recent years and don't want to end their season today.
"Since they play a trap defense, there's always going to be an open person so we have to find the open person and go," Green said. "We just have to keep scoring and stop them because they're not going to score that much tomorrow. We can stop them."
The winner will face either Lumberton or Splendora in the area round.