SAN ANGELO — There was no fourth quarter rally this time.
By then Highland already had things well under con-trol at Angelo State Univer-sity’s Junell Center, thanks to a 15-4 third quarter surge that sparked the Lady Hornets to a lopsided 53-32 victory over Bronte in the teams’ regional quarterfinal playoff on Tuesday.
With the win, the Lady Hornets (22-11) advance to the Region II-A, Division II tournament that starts Friday and will be played at Abilene Christian Universi-ty’s Moody Coliseum.
Highland — which is making its first regional tournament appearance in three years — will take on Newcastle (29-5) in the first of two semifinals at 2 p.m. Roby (25-7) meets Lipan (25-9) in the other semifinal at 4 p.m.
Friday’s winners will play at 2 p.m. Saturday for the regional title and a berth in the Class 1A, Division II state tournament, to be held next week at the Frank Erwin Center located on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
After rallying from behind in the final period of their previous playoff wins over Robert Lee and Wink, the Lady Hornets started their decisive move in the third period. They turned a 22-17 halftime lead into a 37-21 advantage, holding the Lady Longhorns to no field goals and just four free throws in the pivotal quarter.
Highland brought it home with a 16-11 finish. Bronte (19-10) made 14 of 25 free throws, but hit just eight field goals to Highland’s 19. Callie Sandusky had eight field goals by herself and led Highland with 20 points, while Sierra Allen — the team’s top scorer against Robert Lee and Wink — added 15 against Bronte. Also scoring were Kara Hughey and Shyan Womack with seven points, Jessica McCain with three and Morgan Monroe with one. Hughey connected on two 3-pointers and Wom-ack one for Highland, which was 12-of-24 at the line.