• Centennial's Bree Gustin jumps high to save the ball during the Lady Spartans area-round playoff win over Dallas Conrad Thursday. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Lady Spartans down Dallas Conrad to advance in playoffs

Centennial faces Mansfield Legacy in regional quarterfinals Monday

CEDAR HILL - On the bus ride to Cedar Hill, Centennial senior guard Bree Gustin thought to herself that she wasn’t ready for her career as a Lady Spartan to be over.

Gustin did something about extending her high school basketball career Thursday night as she scored nine first-half points in Centennial’s 49-27 win over Dallas Conrad in a Class 5A Region II area-round playoff game.

The victory was the program's first in the area round of the playoffs. Last season, Centennial won its first playoff game defeating Fort Worth Trimble Tech before losing to Grapevine.

“We are excited (about the area-round win) it’s something we haven’t done before,” Centennial coach Valerie Wootan said. “It’s great to get an opportunity to play in the third round.”

The Lady Spartans (22-11) will face Mansfield Legacy (22-11) in a regional quarterfinal playoff game at 8 p.m. Monday at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. At stake is a berth in the regional finals in Garland.

“It feels so good to get to the third round,” said Gustin, who finished with 12 points. “I can’t even explain that. It feels good to not be done your senior year. You don’t really think about (things ended) it until your senior year.”

Gustin scored four points as Centennial pulled out to a 10-0 first quarter lead. The Lady Spartans led 12-4 heading into the second quarter.

“We were really focused before the game, so I wasn’t surprised we were doing so well (first quarter),” Gustin said. “I was just happy we got off to such a quick start because we struggled early against Summit.”

Gustin kept up her hot shooting in the second quarter hitting a three-pointer and runner in the lane for a 22-15 halftime lead.

“Bree kept us going in that first half because we were kind of out of sync,” Centennial coach Valerie Wootan said. “We just got into a little lull in the second quarter but came out in the third quarter and got our momentum back.”

In the second half, senior guard Karly Burson, who scored a game-high 13 points, heated up making a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter. Junior post Molly McCalla came off the bench and scored six points in four possessions as the Lady Spartans extended their lead to 41-19 midway through the third quarter.

Wootan and her staff put in a new defense for their playoff-opening win over Mansfield Summit but didn’t go with a unique plan for Conrad (17-7).

“There wasn’t anything special as far as a game plan but we knew what we were going to do,” Gustin said. “But, we were very prepared.”

Centennial 49, Dallas Conrad 27

Centennial       12        10        21        6          -           49

Conrad            4          11        10        2          -           27

Centennial (22-11): Karly Burson 13, Bree Gustin    12, Molly McCalla 8, Addy Mize 6, Kayleigh Benson 5, Zassmine Birdwell 2, Claire McCalla 2, Abbi Williams 1.

Conrad (17-7): Mia Whitaker 9, Jennifer Madwa 8, Makayla Sims 4, Massa Soumahoro 4, Martha Kortokom 2.

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Centennial's Bree Gustin jumps high to save the ball during the Lady Spartans area-round playoff win over Dallas Conrad Thursday. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE