The Harvest Christian Eagles punched their ticket to the TAPPS state tournament for a second year in a row, taking down Cypress Covenant Academy 59-20 on Saturday at the Kennedy High Gym.

Harvest Christian junior Ashley Gonzalez, The Monitor’s 2022 All-Area Offensive Player of the Year, scored a game-high 19 points during the regional final win. Junior Lexi Garcia added 13 points, and sophomore Riley McClaugherty chipped in 11.

“Even though the score doesn’t maybe indicate it, we felt like we had to work for it,” Harvest Christian head coach Jaime Gonzalez said. “Even though we were up at one point by 25, we felt like we had to earn all of those points. … We didn’t score as many points tonight as we usually do, but that is a testament to Cypress. The score does not indicate how good that team was. We’re just blessed to get another chance to hopefully win a state title.”

The victory marks a second straight year the Eagles have come out of the TAPPS South Region, this time doing so at the TAPPS 1A level after competing in the TAPPS 2A division the past two seasons. The 2021 season ended in the elite eight for the Eagles.

Harvest Christian’s path to the state tournament consisted of back-to-back games against state-ranked opponents. It opened the postseason with a convincing 75-28 win over Fredericksburg Heritage Christian, the No. 2 team in the TAPPS 1A level, according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ state poll.

Freshman Jamie Gonzalez, the youngest of head coach Jaime Gonzalez’s daughters on the team, led the Eagles in scoring during that game, scoring 21 points.

They followed it up with a nearly equally dominant performance against the No. 9 team in the regional final, securing a spot in the big dance with a 39-point victory.

The Eagles enter the state tournament as the top-ranked team in the TAPPS 1A class, according to the same TABC state poll. They hold an overall record of 33-7 heading into the final four, including a streak of 11 straight wins.

They’ll put their winning streak on the line at 10 a.m. Wednesday, taking on San Marcos Hill Country Christian in the TAPPS 1A state semifinals at Robinson High School in Robinson.

“We’re excited,” Gonzalez said. “The girls are excited to get back out there, and hopefully this year be able to finish the dance. Last year we got to the dance. This year we want to finish it.”

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