Keith MacPherson, Sports Editor
GAINESVILLE — Ariannah Kemp scored 19 points as Gainesville rolled past Bridgeport 60-41 to clinch the second seed out of District 9-3A.
The Lady Leopards entered Tuesday's home game with a playoff berth in hand, needing only a win to take second place out of the district.
Gainesville (21-11, 5-3) will play either Celina or Argyle in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs next week. The time, day and location have yet to be determined.
The Lady Leopards were fueled by a big third quarter in which they outscored the Sissies 20-10 to take a 44-24 lead into the final stanza.
Kemp capped off a 10-2 run by Gainesville late in the third quarter with a deep 3-pointer to push the Lady Leopard lead to 20 at 40-20.
Even with the big lead Bridgeport (6-15, 0-8) battled back, making it 50-36 on a Bailey Thompson jumper midway through the fourth quarter. Thompson led Bridgeport with 12 points -- nine coming in the fourth quarter.
Kemp would put any thought of a comeback for the Sissies out of question with what essentially turned into a five-point play. The junior was fouled on a runner that go in. The ensuing free throw would find the front of the iron where Kemp rebounded it and put it back in - while being fouled. Kemp would connect on the free throw to give Gainesville a 55-36 lead - a two-second, five-point swing.
Kiarah Manuel had 13 points for the Lady Leopards. Hali Smith had 11 points, Chandler Kemp had nine points, Brittany Royal had six points and CeCe Sherrer had two points.
It was a slow start for both teams as Gainesville took a 9-3 lead into the second quarter. The Lady Leopards shot only 3 of 13 from the field.
The Lady Leopards would find life in the second quarter, outscoring Bridgeport 15-11. The quarter was owned by the Kemp sisters with Chandler scoring six points and Ariannah scoring seven points.