HEATH — Caitlin Lennon, Jordan Dawson, and Macie Arrington combined for 44 points as Alba-Golden needed a surprising second-half comeback to hold off Bowie, 59-53, in a Class 3A Region II semifinal on Saturday at Rockwall-Heath High School.
The Lady Panthers’ victory sets up the anticipated rematch against No. 1 ranked Sunnyvale (34-2).
The regional championship is set for 2 p.m. Sunday. The winner advances to the state tournament next week in San Antonio.
These two teams met in the championship game of a College Station tournament on New Year’s Eve with the Lady Raiders edging out Alba-Golden 62-57 in overtime.
That was the middle of a current 31-game winning streak for Sunnyvale and led to the beginning of Alba-Golden’s current 16-game winning streak.
Alba-Golden (35-3), No. 10 in the state rankings, struggled in the first half from the field and hit just 3 of 11 from the free throw line.
It was just only a matter of time before the Lady Panthers got on track — a team that’s averaged just under 90 points per game and a 67-point margin of victory in their first three playoff games.
Alba-Golden took their first lead of the game, 40-38, on sophomore Shelby Wright’s rebound and putback with 56 seconds left in the third quarter.
Lennon led all scorers with 16, routinely penetrating into the paint for layups and while spearheading a Lady Panthers defense that forced 22 Bowie turnovers.
Dawson hit a pair of 3-pointers on her way to 15 points and Arrington scored 11 of her 13 points in the pivotal second half.
Despite their struggles at the line, Alba-Golden was 8 of 12 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter with Arrington, a UT Tyler signee, going a perfect 4 for 4 in the final minute to put the game away.
Bowie (30-6), No. 13 in the rankings, had an 18-game winning streak snapped and was led by juniors Brittney Pound and Courtney Brady with 15 points apiece.
Sunnyvale 71, Winnsboro 40
In the first semifinal, Grace Goodhart led five starters in double figures with 21 points as No. 1 ranked Sunnyvale defeated Winnsboro 71-40.
It was the 31st consecutive victory for Sunnyvale.
After falling behind early, Sunnyvale (34-2) went on a 17-2 run and forced eight first-quarter turnovers for a 19-10 lead.
Goodhart and Karah Sicurella combined for 12 points in an 18-4 run to open the second quarter and give Sunnyvale a 37-14 lead.
Sophomore forward Ivy Alexander led the Sunnyvale defense with four steals and chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Sicurella finished with 15 points with Leslie Berry and Bria Johnson adding 12 apiece for Sunnyvale, who forced 22 Winnsboro turnovers.
Winnsboro (30-8), who has been a constant in the playoffs over the years with 12 state tournament appearances and three titles (1999-2001), was led by sophomore Timber Brown (11 points), Bailey Swanner (11 points) and Reagan Johnson (10 points).