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By James McAfee
HASKELL—The Benjamin Lady Stangs were eliminated in the area round of the Class 1A playoffs by District 14-1A champion Eula, 39-30, at the Haskell High School Gym last Friday.
Eula Coach Jamie Masonheimer described the game as “ugly,” as both teams struggled to score. The final difference came at the charity stripe where Eula connected on 14 of 19, while Benjamin made 2 of 3 tries.
Masonheimer did praise his girls’ defensive performance. “We normally play a little softer defense, but we turned them loose when we had trouble scoring,” he said.
Eula took an early lead as Presley Vernson scored eight of her 12 points for a 16-11 cushion after one quarter. They limited Benjamin to just one basket to lead 23-13 at halftime. The Lady Stangs cut the deficit to 23-17 before Eula went on a 7-0 run to end the third quarter.
Benjamin Coach Cody Propps was proud of the girls’ effort against a state-ranked opponent. “The defense really stepped up tonight,” he said.
Propps felt that a big difference was scoring only two points in the second period when offensive leader Valeria Zavala was on the bench with four fouls.
“Valeria’s going to be a player,” Propps said of the freshman. “She’s a team player.” Zavala finished with 10 points to pace the Lady Stangs.
The Lady Stangs finished the season with a 14-7 record as the runners up in District 16-1A and as a bi-district champion.
Propps feels the Lady Stangs’ prospects to continue as a playoff contender going forward are good as he will lose only two seniors, Braleigh Blanchette and Madison Barrientez.
“They’ve given all they’ve got,” he said.
Eula, the District 13-1A champion, will take a 19-6 record into a regional quarterfinal game.