ABILENE â€” Theyâ€™ve often battled for district championships in the past.
But on Friday, the stakes were even higher for High-land and Roby as the two old rivals met in a Region II-1A, Division II girls semifinal at Abilene Christian Univer-sityâ€™s Moody Coliseum.
And unlike most of those earlier meetings, this one was no contest.
No. 2-ranked Highland (27-3) was in complete control from the opening tip, racing to a 12-0 lead before Roby got on the board with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
The Lady Hornets led 24-6 by the end of the period, and never looked back in rolling to a 60-29 win over the Lady Lions.
That sent Highland back to the Region II-A, Division II final at ACU on Saturday to face Garden City for the second straight year â€” with a second consecutive trip to the state tournament in Austin on the line. Garden City (31-1), ranked No. 5 in the state, defeated No. 8 Eula 38-16 in Fridayâ€™s other regional semifinal. Highland won 47-29 over Garden City in the 2013 regional final held at ACU, sending the Lady Hornets to Austin for the first time ever.
Roby (17-9) struggled to score against a much taller, more talented and deeper Highland team until the fourth quarter, when head coach Shea Baucom was emptying his considerable bench. Highland, which sui-ted up and used 18 players to Robyâ€™s eight, led 55-12 with 6:43 to play until the Lady Lions ended the game on a 17-5 run. Until then, Roby succeeded only in getting Highland in foul trouble.
Senior post Sierra Allen, who led Highland with 15 points, fouled out with 4:46 left in the third quarter and her younger sister Hannah played with four fouls the entire second half. But the Lady Hornets were so firm-ly in control that it didnâ€™t matter too much.
â€śThey (the officials) called it a little bit closer than I expected,â€ť Baucom said. â€śYou have that sometimes. But I thought we did a great job overall and defensively, we did a good job. Thereâ€™s things you can nitpick on, but I didnâ€™t there wasnâ€™t much negative for us from a coaching standpoint.â€ť
Schyler Kimbrell finished with 10 points, while Hannah Allen and Kaylee Martin had eight, Beth Richburg seven and Kelsi Johns, Madison Moseley and Sydny Helbert four each to complete the scoring.