West Texas Invitational Champs!
by Caitlyn Brown
January 04, 2012
LADY PATRIOTS WIN CHAMPIONSHIP AT WEST TEXAS INVITATIONAL
The West Texas Invitational basketball tournament was held this past week in Slaton, Tx. This tournament is held annually during the holidays and features some of the best area teams from class 1A to 4A. This year, twelve girls teams were competing for the title. After all the smoke cleared, it ended up being the home town Slaton Lady Tigers taking on the Valley Lady Patriots for the championship.
The Lady Patriots first round game had them facing the Whiteface Lady Lopes. This was a rematch of Valley's first round playoff game this past year, which they won by 4 points. Valley would take control of this game early, racing to a 19-7 first quarter lead, in route to a 62-32 win. The Lady Patriots had 9 girls find the scoring column, with 3 in double figures. Haley Wheeler led all scorers with 14 points, followed by Kristen Jenkins with 12 and Chambray Smith with 10. Others scoring were Kammi Warr-7, Abby Hill-6, April Villarreal-4, Caitlyn Brown-4, Jordan Noland-3, and Madison Meyer with 2 points.
Second round action saw Valley taking on the class 4A Dumas Lady Demons. The Lady Patriots got off to a sluggish start, and trailed 19-9 at the end of one. Valley would close to within 5 points at the half, but didn't take the lead until the 4th quarter, in which they outscored Dumas 22-5. Valley's swarming defense seemed to really wear down their opponent. The final score had Valley on top by a 54-41 score. This win propelled them into the championship game.
As previously mentioned, Valley would take on the home town Slaton Lady Tigers in the title game. As you might expect, Slaton came out on fire in their home gym, and raced to a 20-9 first quarter lead. Valley would use their press to swing the momentum in their favor, and close the gap to just 4 at the half. The third quarter saw the Lady Patriots outscore Slaton by a 14-6 count, to take a 4-point lead into the final stanza. This quarter was a thriller, with several key turnovers forced by Lady Patriot pressure defense. Valley would win the championship by a 60-51 score. April Villarreal came off the bench to lead all scorers with 12 points, including 8 points in the crucial 4th quarter. Kristen Jenkins had 11 points and 7 steals to also come up big for Valley. Haley Wheeler also had 11 points, including 3 big momentum changing 3-pointers. Others scoring for Valley were Chambray Smith-8, Abby Hill-8, Jordan Noland-6, and Caitlyn Brown and Kammi Warr with 2 points.
This was a big tournament for the girls, with two come from behind wins against schools from larger classifications. Valley had three girls named to the all tournament team. Kammi Warr and Chambray Smith were named to the first team, and Kristen Jenkins was named MVP of the tournament. Great job Lady Patriots!