Had the Nixon-Smiley Lady Mustangs won their last regular season game at Randolph on Tuesday, Feb. 8, they would have sewn up second place in District 26-3A.
Unfortunately, the Lady Ro-Hawks seems to have the Lady Mustangs’ number, as Randolph jumped out to a big first-half lead and never looked back in a 66-54 victory that has created a “cluster” among three of the district’s four playoff-bound squads.
While Nixon-Smiley actually led 5-1 early in the game, Randolph would score 11 of the next 13 points to take a 12-7 lead after one period. In the second quarter, the Lady Mustangs would cut the lead to 14-11 before the Lady Ro-Hawks went on a 12-2 run to take a 26-13 lead. By the end of the period, Randolph would hold a solid 34-19 lead for a 15-point halftime advantage.
In the third period, the Lady Mustangs would slice into the lead and whittle it down to six at 38-32, thanks to three-point shooting by sophomore Kendall Amaya. However, the Lady Ro-Hawks then scored nine of the next 13 points to take a 47-36 lead with one period to play.
In the final period, Nixon-Smiley never got closer than nine points as Randolph outscored them, 21-18, in the quarter.
The loss means Nixon-Smiley, Randolph and Marion are all tied with identical 6-4 district records. Randolph has beaten Nixon-Smiley twice, but has lost twice to Marion, while Nixon-Smiley has beaten Marion both times.
Nixon-Smiley will take on Marion at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Stockdale High School gym. The winner will play Randolph for second place at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, in Stockdale. If Randolph loses that game, they will play the loser of Thursday’s game for third place at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Lady Mustangs will be second if they beat Marion Thursday and Randolph Friday. If they lose Thursday, they can be third if they beat Randolph in Friday’s late game. Otherwise, they will be the fourth-place seed.
District rules state that if three or more schools are tied and the District Executive Committee had not settled a tie-breaker procedure before the season began, the DEC may authorize a tournament in accordance with Section 1203 of the UIL Athletic Contest Rules, provided only two matched games have been played that week.
Districts have until Feb. 12 to turn in their playoff certification.