Italy — Friday night in the dome featured a playoff tuneup game between, head coach, Melissa Fullmer’s 2A Italy Lady Gladiators and the visiting 1A Milford Lady Bulldogs.
The contest was tight early with both teams knotted up at 9-all midway thru the first. Milford did well forcing Italy to work out of the half-court set, but guards Brycelen Richards and Decorea Green picked apart Milford’s defense with long-shot daggers and Green’s ability to dribble into the lane and get shots up. Green scored 7-points, including a three-pointer in the opening stanza. Richards dropped in a pair of jumpers to help give Italy a 19-15 edge after the first-period was in the books.
Lillie Perry had a strong first-half down low with consecutive made buckets for 4-points along with Vanessa Cantu who also rung up 4-points in the paint. Ta’Keya Pace added 4-points as well to help the Lady Gladiators take control of the game. Richards swished 2 three-pointers in the second and Janae Robertson had 8-points by halftime with Italy up 37-24 at the break.
The second-half saw Italy distancing themselves from the Lady Bulldogs with a stout defensive pressure led by Lady Gladiator Robertson who created turnover after steal. And when Robertson secures the ball it’s ponytails in the wind with Italy speeding toward their offensive basket. Robertson scored another 9-points in the third-period alone and led Italy in scoring with 19-points by game’s end.
Green added her second three-pointer of the game and scored 5-points in the third. Emily Cunningham put in a free-throw and Richards swished in another jumper. The Lady Gladiators outscored Milford 23-3 in the third to take a relaxing 60-27 lead into the fourth.
Italy senior’s Taleyia Wilson and Shercorya Chance took care of business inside the lane in the second-half. That is until Chance drifted outside to knock down a three-pointer to finish with 11-points, nine of which came in the fourth. Wilson had 4-points in the fourth, Cunningham scored 5-points and finished with 6-points. Richards recorded her third three-pointer of the contest and finished with 15-points. Italy won big 82-40.
Milford’s Marquisha Houston scored a game-high 22-points including 1 three-pointer while going 9-out-of-13 from the stripe.
Lady Gladiator Scoring vs. Milford:
It’s Playoff Time!:
The Lady Gladiators take on Era for the Bi-District Championship on Tuesday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Crowley High School, 1005 W Main St, Crowley, TX 76036.