JACKSONVILLE — Once the Collinsville girls basketball team started forcing turnovers and getting high-percentage shots in the third, the result blew the game open.
Tyla Tatum paced the Panthers with 17 points, as they turned key defensive plays into offense in a 59-38 victory against LaFayette at Pete Mathews Coliseum on Friday afternoon.
Brittany Rivera scored 12 points with eight rebounds, and Hadley Hamilton added 12 points with six rebounds, helping Collinsville (26-3) advance to the regional finals.
“I had a lot of fun and I thought we worked really well as a team,” Tatum said.
Tatum scored a tear-drop layup off a steal to give the Panthers a 36-25 advantage with 6:30 left in the third. Olivia Akins followed up a missed shot in transition before Tatum stole a pass and scored it to extend the lead to 42-29 with 4 minutes remaining in the period.
Hamilton made a turnaround jumper in the paint and another score in the paint to help Collinsville take a 50-31 advantage into the final period.
“I think we have a really special team,” Panthers coach Jon Tidmore said. “We put a lot of work into it, so I’m proud for them.”
Feliah Greer led all scorers with 26 points. She scored all but 12 points for the Bulldogs (11-10) on 50-percent shooting. She made a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to help close a nine-point Collinsville lead to six points at halftime.
“She’s so hard to guard,” Tidmore said. “I watched her play on some film and I saw her splitting double teams.”
Collinsville plays Sand Rock in the regional finals at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“It feels good to be down here, having fun,” Rivera said. “That’s the best part about it.”