The Teague Lady Lions had reached knew territory by simply showing up at the Class 3A Region III tournament.
But Teague didn’t slow down one bit as it raced past Crockett, 65-41, on Friday night at the Midway High School Arena.
Lady Lions guard Ashley Nickleberry filled up the basket, scoring 21 points, and forward Destanee Roblow added 14 points and 12 rebounds as Teague took control before halftime.
The Lady Lions led by 11 at the break and never looked back.
Teague (23-5) earned a third meeting of the season with District 18-3A rival Buffalo (26-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday back at Midway. Teague and Buffalo split a pair of close district games.
The winner this time will earn a trip to the state tournament next weekend in San Antonio.
“I feel blessed,” Teague coach Chris Nickleberry said. “I’ve been in this business a long time and the dream is to be on that big stage and we’re one game away. These kids are working hard and I’m excited.”
The Lady Lions pushed ahead in the first quarter when Ashley Nickleberry hit three 3-pointers, the third of which gave Teague a 13-11 lead at the 2:18 mark and the Lady Lions never trailed again.
Teague took over with a 9-0 run in the final 4:29 of the first half. The Lady Lions held Crockett scoreless for the final 6:25 of the second quarter.
Nickleberry grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup that kick-started Teague’s second-quarter surge.
“(Ashley Nickleberry) pushed the ball, she shot the ball well, attacked the rim, got her teammates involved,” Chris Nickleberry said. “She was the difference tonight.”
Forward Caelyn Thompson, who finished with six points and 13 rebounds, put back a missed shot and Roblow added an inside basket during the game’s defining run.
With Thompson and Roblow leading the way, Teague dominated the boards, outrebounding Crocket, 50-29.
“We still didn’t get enough,” Chris Nickleberry said. “We didn’t get all of them, too many second-chance opportunities.”
But despite his perfectionist view of the Lady Lions’ rebounding effort, he acknowledged a lot of hard work.
“I’m excited about what the girls are doing,” Nickleberry said. “They attacked the boards tonight and you’ve got to do it to win the big games.”
Teague extended its run in the second quarter into the third.
Ashley Nickleberry hit the first shot of the second half just 14 seconds into the third quarter, and Roblow added a basket less than a minute later to boost the Lady Lions’ lead to 34-19.
Guard Cady Drake nailed a trey early in the fourth quarter and another later in the period that took Teague to its largest lead of the contest at 27 points.
Chris Nickleberry said part of the game plan was to win the late stages.
“We knew we had more manpower than they did and we wanted to play fast and wear them down,” he said. “We knew by the end of the second half we could do it.”