D’HANIS — For the first time in 17 years, the Charlotte Trojanettes can add a playoff win to their season total.
The Trojanettes used a stout second half defense to down the Junction Lady Eagles 40- 30 on Monday, Feb. 17, after clinching their first district title in the same time against Stacey on Feb. 11.
“It’s really big for us,” said shooting guard Julissa Cantu. “I’m so glad we won. We put all our heart and dedication into this. It’s just amazing.”
After holding a 22-16 lead at halftime, Charlotte put the clamps on Junction and limited the Lady Eagles to four points while extending their lead to 31-20. Playing lockdown defense was always the plan for Charlotte coming out of halftime.
“That’s all we talked about at halftime,” Head Coach Jason Brock said. “All year, we’ve been a third quarter team. That’s what we’ve been good at and why we’ve been so successful.”
Charlotte’s defense was helped out by 10 rebounds from Mia Campos and eight from Jessalyn Sanchez. Charlotte narrowly beat a taller Junction team in rebounds 32-31.
In their win over Stacey, the two had gritty performances to help Charlotte to a win. Brock says that mentality carried over into the playoffs.
“Second shots on the defensive side have hurt us all year,” Brock said. “Last week was probably our test, against Stacey. It was a battle. [Campos and Sanchez] came out and they were hurting because they fought tooth and nail. I think it carried over, it showed them what they had to do to be successful. Anytime you control the board and you don’t give them a second opportunity, you’re gonna be in a good situation.”
Cantu led the way for Charlotte on offense with 16 points, adding seven rebounds to her statline. Some of those were clutch three-pointers that kept Junction at bay.
“It was incredible,” Brock said. “At a time when Junction would go on a run and comeback, she would find a way to hit a three-pointer. It gave us a spark. She’s our team captain for a reason. When the going gets tough, she finds a way.”
For many of the Trojanettes, it was a chance to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Campos grew up hearing stories of what her mother and father did during their time in high school.
“To me, it makes me feel excited and happy that I’m going on the same path as them when they were in school bringing home trophies,” Campos said. “We’re small, but we’re still a tough team.”
Charlotte’s first-year Head Coach also had something at stake. During his playing days at Eldorado High School south of San Angelo, Brock had never lost to Junction.
As a coach, he wanted to keep that unblemished record.
“You hold a special place in your heart for [rivalries],” Brock said. “Tradition is big. That’s one thing I wanted them to understand. I told them their parents did a great thing in 1999. … It goes back to the tradition and me delivering that fire to my players.”
Charlotte (21-10) will play Hearne on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. at New Braunfels High School.
This story was updated to reflect the correct scoring totals. Julissa Cantu had 16 points, not 13 as listed previously.