Region girls basketball: Sunlake 62, Brandon 53
LAND O’LAKES — Sunlake has been here before, but this time coach Reesa Hendrix Pledge feels much better about her team’s chances of playing beyond the next round.
The two-time district champion Seahawks defeated Brandon 62-53 Thursday night in a Class 7A region quarterfinal. Last season, Sunlake followed a region quarterfinal win over King with a region semifinal loss to Armwood.
“This year’s team, they have a youthful exhuberance,” Pledge said. “They just kind of breathe. They’re youthful, but they have poise.”
Sunlake (16-8) led 34-24 at halftime, but Brandon (15-8) showed some life and cut that deficit in half heading into the final frame. The Eagles trailed 41-36 after outscoring the Seahawks 12-7 in the third quarter and pulled within 41-37 on Arissa Bretton’s free throw early in the fourth.
That was as close as Brandon would come, however, as Sunlake made 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch to win its third straight and 11th of its past 12 games.
Brandon’s Jalyn Spurlin led all scorers with 30 points while teammate Aja Taylor added 10.
“We knew it was going to happen,” Pledge said of Spurlin’s stellar offensive output. “We knew what we were facing, but we’re a team of five and one player can’t beat us.”
Sunlake, led by Mary Moran’s 13 points, had four players in double figures. Kasia Ramirez scored 12, Cheyenne Yucatonis, the team’s lone senior, had 11 and Andrea Wallace 10.