WEST – A successful basketball season for the Mart Lady Panthers came to an end on Thursday night.

The high-scoring Italy Lady Gladiators had another hot shooting night as they dispatched Mart, 67-47, in the Class 2A area playoffs at the West High School gym.

The loss was the first for Mart since late December, as the Lady Panthers went undefeated in 12 district contests. Along the way, they won the 600th game in head coach Jerry Hoffman’s 29-year coaching career.

But Italy (22-5) and its high-scoring guard Emmy Cunningham were too much for Mart on this night. The Lady Gladiators advance to next week’s regional quarterfinals, where they’ll face the winner of Friday’s Crawford-Centerville game.

BOYS

Mexia’s boys will face Athens for the second seed in District 18-4A at 6 p.m. Friday in Fairfield.

Athens, Mexia and Madisonville ended up in a three-way tie for second behind Fairfield following the regular season. That set up a three-way playoff, and step one of that mini-tournament unfolded on Thursday, as Athens defeated Madisonville, 60-59, on an inbounds-play layup with 2.5 seconds to go.

That outcome sets up a La Vega-Madisonville in bi-district play. The Mexia-Athens winner will face China Spring in bi-district, while the loser draws Connally.

Fairfield will get the winner of Friday’s District 17-4A tiebreaker between Lorena and Gatesville.

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