Hitchcock used tight defensive pressure and unselfish passing to defeat East Chambers, 72-61, in Tuesday’s Region III-3A quarterfinal contest at Sterling High School.
The Lady Bulldogs advance to play District 19-3A champion Marlin in the regional semifinals scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Midway High School in Waco.
Tuesday’s game only became as close as the final score shows when Hitchcock took its collective foot off the accelerator late in the third quarter.
A 17-3 run to open the period staked the Bulldogs to a 61-34 lead with just over two minutes remaining.
Irish Winn and Taivionna Daniels combined for 15 of those points, with Majesty Otems collecting the other two.
Daniels and Winn ended the night with 28 and 21 points, respectively. Otems added 12.
It was on the defensive end where Hitchcock inflicted the most damage.
East Chambers managed just one basket on its first 12 possessions and lost eight turnovers.
The Lady Bulldogs became a bit lax at that point, allowing the Bucs to run off 11 of the last 13 points.
Hitchcock was unable to rekindle the offensive spark over the first half of final quarter, with East Chambers closing to within 67-54.
Lady Bulldogs head coach Andrew Hubbell called for the delay at that point to put the game on ice.
Hitchcock needed no such tactics in the first half, relying on kinetic defense and lots of motion on the offensive end to open up a 14-point halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs forced 16 turnovers in the opening two quarters and turned those into 23 points.
After the two teams traded field goals to open the second period, Hitchcock connected on its next nine shots to spark a 19-2 run.
Winn, Daniels and Otems had all the points, but all five on the court contributed with defense and passing.
The majority of those baskets came off turnovers as the Lady Bulldogs effortlessly beat the Lady Bucs to the other end of the floor.
It was much the same story to open the second half.
East Chambers displayed suspect ball handling and often failed to get back on defense, allowing Hitchcock to turn steals and rebounds into easy transition points.