Lady Oilers fall short in the 6A state semifinals

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The Pearland Lady Oilers advanced to the Class 6A state basketball tournament in San Antonio and faced the two-time defending state champion Desoto Lady Eagles in the Alamodome. The Lady O's lost a hard-fought contest 56-35 to finish as one of the top four 6A teams in the state of Texas.

Head coach Jere' Adams, the coaching staff, and the players should be very proud of their accomplishments this season. Pearland finished the year with a school-record 35-4 record and were crowned the District 23-6A and 6A Region III champions.

(Photo by Lloyd Hendricks)

For the first time in 43 years, the Pearland Lady Oilers found themselves playing in the 6A state semifinal basketball tournament against the two-time defending state champion Desoto Lady Eagles.

Pearland beat the Summer Creek Lady Bulldogs for the 6A Region III crown to avenge a loss to the Lady Bulldogs last season in the region finals. The win this year sent the Lady Oilers to the Alamodome in San Antonio to the 6A state tournament.

Second-year coach Jere' Adams saw her girls win 35 of 39 games this season while going undefeated in district action at 12-0 to claim the league crown. Pearland is 63-14 over the past two seasons as they were 28-10 in 2021-2022.

No matter the outcome of the game -- coach Adams, her coaching staff, and her girls have much to be proud of on this historical season as they have accomplished something that hasn't been done in 43 years when the Pearland girls advanced to the state basketball tournament in 1980.

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Pearland senior RyLee Grays (22) closed out her illustrious career with 12 points at the Class 6A state semifinals against two-time defending state champion Desoto Lady Eagles.

Grays will continue her education and playing career at North Carolina. Grays is an McDonald's All-American nominee.

[Photo by Lloyd Hendricks]

In the game against Desoto, the Lady Eagles were competing for a third straight state championship, and they had also played in the final four in 2019 as well.

The game between the two teams was close for the first half of the first quarter until Desoto made a late run to take a 15-11 lead into the second period.

"We struggled to take care of the ball a little bit," Pearland head coach Jere Adams said. "I think that they're a good team, and they capitalized on turnovers and second-chance opportunities.

"Defensively, in the first half we needed to do a better job of closing down on the shooters and taking care of the ball."

Five Lady Oilers scored during the first eight minutes of the game with RyLee Grays leading the way with three points. Pearland hit 3-of-4 free throws.

Desoto had no seniors on this year's team, and they had three freshmen starters so even though they were in a rebuilding stage, they still made it to the state tournament.

Freshman Amayah Garcia set the pace for the Lady Eagles in the opening quarter with a 3-pointer and a pair of short jumpers for seven points.

Desoto took control of the game in the second period led by junior Mylasia Smith who pumped in eight points while freshman Amari Byles added five points to outscore the Lady Oilers 14-8.

Grays scored four points for Pearland as Desoto led 29-19 at intermission.

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Senior guard Paige Bonner (4) drives to the basket against Desoto in the 6A state semifinals in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Desoto won the game 56-35 to advance to the 6A state finals while Pearland ended the season with a record-setting 35-4 record. Bonner scored five points for Pearland.

[Photo by Lloyd Hendricks]

Both teams increased the intensity of their defense while both teams were limited on offense as each team scored seven points making the score 36-26 entering the final frame.

Grays was the only one who scored for Pearland in the third quarter while junior MaRiya Vincent tossed in five points for Desoto.

Desoto took control of the fourth quarter to outscore Pearland 20-9 to make the final score 56-35.

The Lady Eagles didn't allow the Lady Oilers to score a field goal as Pearland was limited to score from the free throw line hitting 9-of-13 from the line.

In 2022, DeSoto posted a 35-2 record and rolled to a 40-23 win over South Grand Prairie for the Class 6A title.

In 2021, the Lady Eagles were 27-2 and captured the state crown for the first time with a 53-37 win against Cypress Creek.

DeSoto reached the state championship for the second time in 2019 when it lost to Converse Judson, 49-46, and in 2020, the Lady Eagles lost in the playoffs to eventual state champ Duncanville.

Grays, who will continue her education and playing career at North Carolina, led Pearland with 12 points, Nyah Hardy scored eight, Janae Tucker finished with seven, Paige Bonner added five and Eliece Perry scored three.

Pearland ends their record-setting season with a 35-4 record as District 23-6A and 6A Region III champions.