LAREDO — Brandeis coach Jennifer Brewer didn’t mind the missed shots. It was the Broncos lack of effort in following them up that was the problem.
Brewer let them know after the Broncos trailed by four against Weslaco after the first quarter of their Region IV-6A semifinal on Friday.
The Broncos responded and ran away with a 62-39 victory at Laredo Energy Arena.
“I felt like we just stepped off the bus in the first quarter,” Brewer said. “We weren’t blocking out. Our defense was a little sloppy.”
Brandeis (27-8) outscored Weslaco 46-12 over the next two quarters. It was a surge fueled largely by the Broncos’ commitment to crashing the offensive boards. Brandeis finished with a 40-24 rebounding advantage. Denay Griffin had 13 rebounds to go with 19 points. Breauna Delon had 10 rebounds and nine points.
“When we get quick shots and crashing the boards, sometimes the shots aren’t falling and that’s OK,” Brewer said. “When we get second attempts, it’s good.”
Griffin generated a lot of her offense on the boards.
“It was really key to helping us turn it around,” Griffin said.
Griffin scored six points in the final 36 seconds of the second quarter that put the Broncos in the lead 36-18.
“Denay has been huge for us all year long,” Brewer said. “She’s is just a great athlete and strong. Best way I can put it is if I say, ‘Denay, run through that brick wall for me, and she’ll do it.”
Those efforts supported Brandeis’ Georgia-bound guard Gabby Connally, who had a game-high 27. She made four 3-pointers, including one that banked in from midcourt at the third-quarter buzzer.
“We felt comfortable when our shots began to fall and when we got a lot of second-chance points with Denay,” Connally said.
Emily Saenz led Weslaco (31-9) with 20 points.
Judson 62, Laredo Alexander 43: Judson earned a spot in the final thanks to an 18-2 run in the first half.
The Rockets face Brandeis at 2 p.m. Saturday at Laredo Energy Arena. The winner will make its first UIL state championship appearance next week in the Alamodome.
The Rockets trailed 6-5 three minutes in before Chantel Govan fueled the run with a drive to the basket and a trey. That propelled the Rockets to a 23-8 lead at the 5:28 mark of the second quarter.
“We wanted to stick with the game plan we’ve had all year - play great defense,” Judson coach Triva Corrales said.
The Rockets early surge did much to quiet a crowd that was largely supporting Alexander.
“It’s just like any other game,” junior Heaven Mbaruk said. “Imagine they are not there and just play how you play.”
Alexander (28-2) never recovered after Judson’s hot start. The Bulldogs trailed 34-16 at the half and by as many as 21 in the third quarter.
“We knew it was going to be hard to play here in Laredo because they were going to bring all their fans, but we concentrated on the things we could control, and that’s how we play.”
Sophomore Kyra White had 17 points and nine rebounds. Mbaruk had 13 points and nine rebounds. Govan scored 12 points. Alexander was led by Dannia Gonzalez’s 12 points.
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