For Lingleville, the opening two rounds of the playoffs were easy. Now the real challenge begins.
The Cardinals hammered Avalon 76-46 Friday at Clifton High School, winning their third straight area championship. They'll try to qualify for a third straight 1A Division II Region III Tournament on Tuesday against Frost. The regional quarterfinal tips off at 7 p.m. at Clifton.
Lingleville came out blazing hot with a 28-8 first-quarter surge that left little no doubt. There was certainly none after a 18-7 third-quarter made it 60-29.
"We probably played the best first 12 minutes of a game we've played all year," said second-year Lingleville head coach Kade Eckert. "This is certainly the time of year I like being able to say that."
The 15th-ranked Cardinals (25-3) have more wins than any Lingleville team since the 1980s, and they were led there by Robert VanKranenburg with 23 points. Jaden Stoker started hot with 10 of his first 13 coming in the first quarter.
Ruperto Huerta netted 10 for the Cards, Hendrick Huisman eight, Colbe Stoker seven, Bart VanKranenburg six, Tim Griffin five, Tucker Click two and Josh Alvarado two.
"It gets much tougher Tuesday," said Eckert. "Frost and us play totally different styles, so it's one of those where we'll both be trying to impose our style of play on each other."
The winner faces reigning state champ Roxton or Slidell in the semifinals of next weekend's regional tournament at Tyler Junior College.