CORINTH — When the buzzer sounded to end the first half of the Class 4A bi-district playoff game between Aledo and Lake Dallas on Tuesday, the Lady Falcons didn’t look like the team that had barely made the postseason.
Aledo entered the playoffs as the top seed from District 12-4A. But when that first half buzzer echoed around Falcon Stadium, Lake Dallas had all but ensured Aledo’s playoff run was going to end in the Lake Cities. The Lady Falcons rolled to a 5-0 victory over the Ladycats.
Lake Dallas next will face Wichita Falls at 6 p.m. Friday at Denton.
“This is huge,” Lake Dallas coach Mandy Hall said. “This is what no one expected. It’s very exciting.”
Freshman Cambria Johnson scored two goals and senior Kristi Lantrip had a goal and two assists for the Lady Falcons. Briana Marin and Haley Bortnem also scored.
Lake Dallas earned the victory in its first playoff appearance since 2009. It also was a huge win for Hall, who is in her second year as a varsity head coach after graduating from North Texas as the Mean Green’s all-time leader in saves and shutouts.
Lake Dallas (17-16-4) finished the regular season with District 11-4A’s fourth and final playoff berth. From the moment the game started, Aledo pressured Lake Dallas with an attack that could have foreshadowed the rest of the night.
It didn’t. The pressure subsided after the opening seconds, and from then on Lake Dallas pressured Aledo’s defense before it finally caved in the 14th minute.
Lantrip sent in a corner kick that Marin headed into the back of the net from a few yards from the middle of the Aledo goal to put Lake Dallas up 1-0.
In the 31st minute, Johnson padded the Lady Falcons’ lead. A pass from the midfield was threaded behind Aledo’s final defenders to a streaking Johnson, who calmly tucked the ball into the right corner of the net.
Lake Dallas scored four minutes later and took a 3-0 lead into halftime. Nine minutes after that, Lantrip broke free down the right side and found Johnson standing wide open a few yards from the net. The freshman tapped the ball into the net for her second goal of the night.
The Ladycats (16-6-2) came into the contest off their 10th straight district title, and had posted a 17-goal victory over 12-4A foe Fort Worth Chisholm Trail.
Johnson said she wasn’t worried about facing Aledo after the Lady Falcons played well in some tough nondistrict games.
“We played some really good teams before the season and we tied them or they beat us 1-0,” Johnson said.
Johnson, Lantrip and a few other starters were pulled from the game when the victory was sealed well before the final whistle.
The free time allowed the two forwards to discuss a bet they had in place after each game this season but had only been paid out once. Whoever scored the least amount of goals had to buy the other the dietary item of their choice.
Their slate had been wiped clean for the postseason. But on Tuesday, Johnson’s two goals trumped Lantrip’s one. Johnson won hot chocolate from Lantrip and avoided a purchase from Chik-fil-A.
Lantrip, the loser of the bet but the catalyst for Lake Dallas’ offense all night, was pleased with the playoff victory but wanted more.
“We’ve had better games than this,” Lantrip said. “We played great tonight, we did, but we’ve had better games.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and he can be reached via Twitter @Ben_Baby.