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Sam Houston on brink of playoff berth

February 5, 2019

After making back-to-back playoff appearances and 14 this century, expectations are pretty high at Sam Houston.

Sam Houston senior Ta’Sharyana Chandler said the Hurricanes (21-12, 10-5) were feeling pressure to sustain that success Jan. 29, with little more than a week left in the District 27-5A season. When the game tipped off their opponent, Lanier (18-14, 10-6) was in third place with both Sam Houston and Brackenridge (17-11, 10-5) nipping at its heels.

The Voks led for the first three quarters, but a three-point play by Kaliyah Brown (18 points) with 1.2 seconds tied the score 58-58 at the end of regulation at the Alamo Convocation Center. It was Sam Houston’s game from then on, as they pulled away for a 66-61 overtime victory.

“We were pretty nervous,” Chandler said, “but we got out of our heads and played today.”

Chandler made four of four free throws early in overtime to preserve the momentum swing that began midway through the third quarter. The senior scored two points during regulation.

“At first, I wasn’t too confident, but my teammates needed me,” Chandler said. “I had to focus at the line.”

The Hurricanes protected the lead from the foul stripe. After Chandler’s pair provided a 62-59 lead, Brown sank another free throw and Tyera Harris scored off a steal. Khadija Derry (19 points) added one with one minute remaining that was the game’s final point.

“That was a lot of energy,” Sam Houston coach Marchae Woods said. “Making our free throws got us energized.”

Sam Houston made a 10-3 run to finish the fourth quarter and outscored Lanier 10-3 again in overtime. Lanier point guard Kayla Guzman (11 points) has been playing with a strained meniscus and was unavailable down the stretch.

“It could have turned at any time,” Lanier coach Laura Negrete-Fernandez said. “Kayla’s injury put us without a ballhandler at a crucial time.”

In its final district game, Lanier bounced back from the loss to upend first-place Edison (21-10, 12-3) 59-52 Feb. 1 at the ACC and keep its playoff hopes alive.

Voks senior Marissa Martinez erupted for 37 points and Jakerria Mayberry added 12. Avalon Munoz led the Golden Bears with 21 points.

“Even though it didn’t help us numbers-wise, it helped us morale-wise,” Negrete-Fernandez said. “It was a good little win.”

If Brackenridge and Sam Houston both lose Feb. 5, they would drop into a three-way tie with the Voks.

Sam Houston swept the Voks and, therefore, holds the tie-breaker advantage over Lanier. But that would no longer apply if both teams finish with losses.

“We’ve lost two overtime games, so I told the girls the third time is the charm,” Woods said. “We still have to finish (the district season).”

Martinez (20 points) scored 10 points in the first quarter against the Hurricanes, staking Lanier to a 16-11 lead. A three-point shot from Guzman and a short jumper from Mayberry (22 points) increased it to 29-17 at halftime.

“Marissa is so crafty,” Woods said. “She knows how to get her points. Mayberry is just relentless. They’re hard to guard.”

A basket by Martinez with three seconds left gave Lanier a 43-32 lead as the third quarter concluded, but Derry scored four consecutive points to slash the lead to single digits with 6:04 left in regulation.

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