GRAND PRAIRIE — After making things difficult in the first half of its bi-district playoff game on Tuesday, Highland Park made it look easy in the second half.
The Lady Scots pulled away from Irving after halftime for a 63-40 victory in their Class 6A postseason debut. It also was the program’s first playoff win since 2012.
HP broke a halftime tie with 10 straight points to open the third quarter and never relinquished control after that. The Lady Scots (20-10) advance to play Rockwall (26-6) in the area round at 7 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Poteet.
“We took a little while to get going,” said first-year HP head coach Nicole Villarreal. “Our energy gets us going offensively. It was hard to stop when we were running the floor.”
Indeed, the Lady Scots dominated on both ends of the floor in the second half, when they outscored the Lady Tigers (14-16) by a 42-19 margin. In the third quarter, HP’s Emily Weisfeld tallied six points by herself, compared to just five for Irving’s entire team.
It was a typically balanced effort for the Lady Scots, with 10 players scoring in the game. Weisfeld led the way with 14 points, but a trio of post players all played key roles as HP dominated the paint. Caroline Van Kirk added 12 points off the bench, while Eve Loewe posted eight points and eight rebounds and Mary Margaret Roberts contributed seven points and nine rebounds.
“We have solid perimeter players and solid inside players,” Villarreal said. “The balance really works for us. We need everybody to win.”
In the first half, Irving showed flashes of playoff inexperience for a team making its first postseason appearance since 2008. But the Lady Scots struggled to take advantage with cold shooting and a stagnant half-court offense. HP never led by more than five points before halftime, when the score was tied at 21.
Erin Sanchez scored a game-high 16 points for the Lady Tigers, with Kyana Dillingham adding nine of her 15 points from the free-throw line. Kristal Okeke finished with six points and 11 rebounds for Irving.