The Pine Tree Lady Pirates cruised the ship, all the way to a championship title at the Tyler Invitational volleyball tournament. 

Jane Ann Blount provided 13 kills and 11 service aces as Pine Tree defeated North Lamar in the championship 23-25, 25-16,25-14. 

The Lady Pirates (20-4) knocked off Quitman to start the day, then dropped defending champion White Oak in the semifinals. 

Pine Tree’s tall lineup, featuring three six-footers and two more players listed at 5-10, proved too big. Along with Bloutn, a 6-1 middle blocker, Pine Tree received solid efforts from J’Keisha Evans, a 5-10 outside hitter who tallied nine kills, Whitney Ford, a 6-3 senior middle blocker who posted 11 kills, and Emily Shelton, a 5-8 senior setter who passed for 25 assists. 

“I felt like we got better as the tournament went on,” Pine Tree coach Levin Barker said. “In pool play we didn’t feel like we played very well. We came in with the mentality (Saturday) starting in our first game and played well. We played a great game against White Oak. To beat them, you can always build off that.”

Pine Tree raced out to an 11-point lead in the second game after losing a five-point cushion in the first game to fall down a set. Blount served three straight aces to give Pine Tree a 15-8 lead and concluded the match with a thunderous kill moments later. 

Blount earned all-tournament honors, as did teammate Hannah Robey.

Three North Lamar players made the list: Sam Flippen, who totaled 13 kills in the finale, Sara Dunmon and Colbi Thrash. 

“I think both teams were tired,” added Barker, whose team placed sixth at the Garland Sachse Tournament, and second last week at the “Attack in Nac.” “Our girls gutted it out. We’re proud of them.”

Third Place

With all-tournament selection Darby Graff leading the way, Hallsville upended defending champion White Oak in straight games, 25-23, 25-22 to take the bronze at the tournament.

White Oak received more losses at the tourney than during all of 2010 when the Ladynecks won the Class 2A state crown. 

Graff helped White Oak rally from a six-point hole in the first game, tying the score at 21 and ending the set with a block. The teams remained tied through the 40th point of the second game before Kaci Jackson notched two kills and Graff another as Hallsville closed out the match. 

Fifth Place

Courtney Rogers recorded 14 kills to lead New Diana to a sweep of John Tyler, 25-18, 25-23.

Rogers, a junior outside hitter, placed eight kills in the first game.

JT held a 23-20 lead in the second before New Diana scored the final five points to take fifth place.

Amicia Williams paced JT with six kills. Jennifer McGowan and Kashanti Flowers finished with four kills each for the Lady Lions (15-7).

Rogers and McGowan both gained a spot on the all-tournament team. 


Tyler Invitational

Championship Bracket

Bracket Play—White Oak d. John Tyler, 25-19, 25-19; Pine Tree d. Quitman, 25-10, 25-15; North Lamar d. New Diana, 25-21, 25-17; Hallsville d. Canyon Creek, 25-12, 22-25, 25-16. Pine Tree d. White Oak, 25-18, 18-25, 25-18; North Lamar d. Hallsville, 25-23, 25-23; John Tyler d. Quitman; New Diana d. Canyon Creek. 

Seventh Place—Quitman vs. Canyon Creek. 

Fifth Place—New Diana d. John Tyler, 25-18, 25-23.

Third Place—Hallsville d. White Oak, 25-23; 25-22. 

Championship—Pine Tree d. North Lamar, 23-25, 25-16, 25-14

Gold Bracket

Whitesboro d. Alba Golden 25-20, 25-10; Eustace d. Mabank 25-23, 26-24; Whitehouse d. Lindale 25-19, 25-15; Arp d. Marlin 25-10, 25-6; Mabank d. Alba-Golden 25-21, 25-20; Whitesboro d. Eustace 25-22, 25-17; Lindale d. Marlin 25-12, 25-11; Whitehouse d. Arp 25-15, 25-17. 

Consolation--Lindale d. Mabank 25-23, 25-19.

Third place--Eustace defeats Arp 25-18, 25-23

Championship--Whitehouse defeats Whitesboro 20-25, 25-18, 25-14

Bronze Bracket

Kilgore d. New Boston 18-25, 25-18, 29-27; Pittsburgh d. Marshall 25-8, 25-18; Bullard d. Troup 25-23, 25-20; Nacogdoches d. Jasper 25-19, 16-25, 25-19; Marshall d. New Boston 25-15, 16-25, 25-19; Pittsburgh d. Kilgore 25-21, 25-19; Jasper d. Troup 16-25, 25-23, 25-23; Nacogdoches d. Bullard 25-23, 26-24; 

Consolation--Jasper d. Marshall 27-25, 25-23.

Third Place--Bullard d. Kilgore 25-23, 25-8.

First Place--Pittsburgh d. Nacogdoches 25-16, 26-24.


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