JARRELL — Kenny Mann’s dyed blonde hair is going to stay.
There is not much the Salado boys basketball coach can do about it. There was not much the Eagles could do to stop Jarrell on Friday, either. The 14th-ranked Cougars defeated No. 15 Salado 75-55 in a matchup to determine the top seed from District 22-2A.
“We got off to a slow start, but I think they just came out and outplayed us on both sides of the ball tonight,” said Mann, who dyed his hair along with the rest of the team for the playoffs. “It is what it is. We are a better team than we played tonight, but Jarrell played really well and they had a lot to do with us not playing well.”
With the loss, Salado (24-8) now must play a first-round game, while Jarrell (28-3) picks up the bye. The Eagles face
Crawford at 6:30 p.m. at Shoemaker.
Jarrell dominated Salado from the outset, jumping out to a 15-5 lead in the game’s first five minutes and never looking back. The closest the Eagles ever cut the Cougars lead was six points, 19-13, midway through the second quarter.
Jarrell dominated Salado inside the paint with Landon Ledbetter scoring 24 points and James Kelpac adding 11.
“We have a lot of tall guys and we have been talking about it in Jarrell for a long time — ever since we had them in the eighth-grade,” Jarrell coach Drew Sumner said.
Salado hung close for the majority of the game. Troy Brown, who had 14 points for Jarrell, hit a 3-pointer to put the Cougars up 40-28 with 5:20 left in the third quarter. Thirty seconds later, Eagles forward Brandon Womac, who led Salado with 20 points, drained a trey that cut the lead back down to 40-33.
Brown, though, hit another 3 and the Cougars went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:44 and stretched the lead out to 16 points.
Austin Adams, who had nine points for Salado, converted a three-point play to end the streak with a little less than two minutes left in the third quarter, but Jarrell had already all but put the Eagles away.
“They are huge,” Mann said. “They are coached well in the post and when we went to man (defense), I knew we were going to struggle. ... The first two times we played them we were able to play zone and pack it in and throw some things at them and I don’t know if they were ready for it. They saw it twice now and adjusted to it.”
Morgan Cooper converted a three-point play of his own with 6:51 left in the fourth quarter to put Jarrell up 57-40.
Jarrell, which lost to Salado the first time they met this season 57-48 and won the second game 57-55, then put the Eagles away with ease.
“I wish I could tell you I came up with a genius idea,” Sumner said. “We hit some shots we needed to hit and came out eager to play them ... Our kids got the itch the first time they beat us and were constantly looking forward to playing them again and they stepped up.”
Lometa 56, Cherokee 51 — At Zephyr, the Hornets used a strong third quarter and got 19 points from Eric Nichols as it defeated Cherokee in a playoff warm-up game. Lometa (18-10), which has a bye for the bi-district round of the 1A playoffs, outscored the Indians 17-7 in the third quarter.