ROCKWALL — Van Alstyne entered Tuesday night’s game against Edgewood looking to make a statement against the Bulldogs.
But like their local counterparts in the last round, Van Alstyne found themselves flustered by the furious full court press.
The Bulldogs used a 15-0 run to start the game and a 10-0 run to in the second half to defeat Van Alstyne, 86-69, in the Class 3A Region II quarterfinals at Rockwall High School.
“Edgewood does a great job with what they do,” Van Alstyne head coach Russell Best said. “We knew what we they going to press and they did a great job getting us out of rhythm early.”
The Panthers (25-11) didn’t have an answer for the first seven minutes of the game, going scoreless during that stretch. As they would for most of the night however, Van Alstyne had an answer of their own.
VA closed the opening quarter strong on a 7-2 run that turned into a 15-3 run of their own. The charge was led in part by Samuel Tormos, who finished with a team-high 25 points on the night.
“We got a good effort from Samuel tonight,” Best said, “The shots didn’t fall early and we found ourselves in a hole that we just couldn’t climb out of. We didn’t cave to the pressure and that’s what I’m proud of.”
Noah Boling added 15 points and Jackson Rogers finished with 14 points for Van Alstyne.
With three and a half minutes in the second quarter gone, Van Alstyne was right back in the game, bringing a new energy off the bench and in the home stands of the compact gym.
Edgewood had its own answers and it revolved around senior Trey Erwin. After scoring 34 points in Thursday night’s area round win over Pottsboro, he followed up with 31 points on Tuesday. Erwin finished with 16 in the first half as the Bulldogs pushed their lead back up to 11 at half-time.
“The kids just kept playing hard,” Best said. “When they made a run, we would do a good job of matching it. The credit goes to them for doing a great job.”
The second half was a case of déjà vu for Van Alstyne. Edgewood came out with a flurry in the second half with a 10-0 run. But just like in the first half, Van Alstyne responded with a 10-0 run of their own. The Panthers had even cut the lead back to nine points in the quarter after being down by as many as 21.
On this night, Edgewood simply had the answers to counter. Erwin continued to assert himself in the second half but also got some help with the outside shot.
Senior guard Brayden Allen scored 14 of his 19 points in the third quarter, including four threes to extend the lead to 14.
The Panthers didn’t go away and were able to get the lead back to 10 with three minutes remaining but the early deficits proved too much to overcome as Edgewood put the game away to end Van Alstyne’s season.