GRAPELAND — The Bullard Lady Panthers started out slow but warmed up to take an exciting 58-54 overtime win over Fairfield in Class 3A Region III area playoff action at Grapeland High School’s Gymnasium on Thursday.

Texas Tech-bound Minta Spears led all scorers in the game with 32 points for Bullard but it was freshman Madison Slayter that came up big in overtime with two 3-pointers to seal the overtime win.

Spears canned her 30th point of the game by knocking down a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to send the game in to an extra period.

Slayter gave Bullard the lead at 49-46 with her second of her three treys in the game. Slayter then bottomed out another long-range bomb for a 52-50 lead with 1:10 on the clock.

Spears stepped up to make four overtime free throws to bring it to the 58-54 final score.

Fairfield’s Jasmine Griffin scored 12 points in the second half for the Lady Eagles to finish with a team-high 19 points, followed by Bree Bossier and Tiara Tatum with 10 points apiece in the loss.

Bullard’s Kylee Nichols nailed three treys in the second quarter as the Lady Panthers fought their way back from an 11-2 first-period deficit to a 27-26 Fairfield lead at intermission.

Spears gained the first Bullard lead with two free throws in the third quarter for a 32-31 Lady Panther lead just before Slayter made her first 3-pointer for a 35-31 cushion at the 1:00 mark of the third period.

Bullard advances to play the winner of the Lorena-Huntington game this next Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined.

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Class 3A Region III Area Playoff

At Grapeland High School Gymnasium

Bullard 58, Fairfield 54, OT

Bullard      2  24  9  11  12 — 58

Fairfield   11  16  6  13   8 — 54

BULLARD — Kylee Nichols, 11; Emily Voyles, 2; Madison Slayter, 9; Minta Spears, 34; Samantha Cummins, 2.

FAIRFIELD — Jermaca Brown, 5; Karonesha Lowery, 3; Tiara Tatum, 10; Gabby Richardson; 4; Kathleen Chappell, 3; Bree Bossier, 10; Jasmine R Griffin, 19. 

THREE-POINT GOALS — B: Spears (4), Nichols (3), Slayter (3). F: Brown.

TURNOVERS — Bullard 17. Fairfield 19. 

RECORDS — Bullard 25-9. Fairfield 26-9. 

NEXT UP — Bullard vs. Lorena-Huntington winner, TBD.

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