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Disruptive defense lifts Shadow Ridge over Legacy

Shadow Ridge girls basketball coach Dorothy Kendrick unleashed a triumphant yell at the end of her team’s 37-29 road win at Legacy on Thursday night.

“It felt exhilarating,” she said.

The thrill of surviving. And advancing.

The Mustangs (21-6) overcame a sluggish start by forcing 30 turnovers and extended their season with a victory over the Longhorns in the Mountain Region tournament quarterfinals.

Shadow Ridge advances to play four-time defending Class 4A state champion and national powerhouse Centennial (25-1) in the semifinals on Tuesday.

The Longhorns finish 14-11.

“We had to stay aggressive and we had to come together as a team to pull this off,” Kendrick said. “We had to have a counter to make that happen. One of those things was our defense.”

Shadow Ridge, which last week set the program record for wins in a single season, made a paltry four baskets in the first half but forced 15 turnovers and trailed 16-13 at halftime.

The Mustangs relied again on their defense in the second half, forcing 13 additional turnovers in the third quarter, and subsequently discovered their transition offense to secure a 24-18 lead.

“The girls wanted it more,” Kendrick said. “They weren’t ready to go home.”

The Longhorns took better care of the basketball in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome the six-point deficit. Shadow Ridge’s Jamia Carter scored a game-high 16. Teammate Caitlyn Covington added six points.

“Once we all came together, we knew we wanted to change and make history. I knew it was going to be different,” Carter said of the Mustangs’ season. “We came together and started to win.”

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Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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