The fans stood and cheered and coach Kim Schlein held up her fists in victory for just a moment as the Cross Creek girls basketball team marched off the court.
The Lady Razorbacks got another win, but this wasn’t like all the others. This night, they took a step toward a title.
Four to go.
Cross Creek remained undefeated and also advanced to the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs with a 58-33 win Tuesday night over Baldwin. The Lady Razorbacks will be home again Friday.
“We’ve never been past the first round,” Schlein said. “And I’m not ready to stop yet.”
Cross Creek (28-0) owned the start and end of the game.
Those bookends of dominance were more than enough to stifle the struggles early in the third quarter. Cross Creek played too fast during some stretches and also allowed Jayla Waller to work her way inside as the Lady Razorbacks saw their lead shrink from 21-6 to 27-23. Waller scored seven of her 17 points in the third and was the only Baldwin player to get more than six points.
However, Breanna Bryant hit the first of her two 3-pointers and Cross Creek regained control.
Ashleigh Outler, who displayed soft touch on her shots, scored a game-best 19 points, with her four field goals in the fourth erasing any chances of a comeback. Her final bucket made it 57-32.
The strong finish followed an impressive first quarter, when the Lady Razorbacks used speed to close off passing lanes, knock the ball loose from handlers and come around for open shots.
Along with some rebounding strength, Cross Creek was up 12-0 after the first period.
Jasmine Kilgore, who was one of the ball thieves, was one of five players to put up at least seven points to help Cross Creek move on to the second round.
“This game is over now,” Kilgore said. “Now we got to focus on Friday.”