Overton leads Dulles to 1st regional semifinal since ’09

Overton leads Dulles to 1st regional semifinal since 09 (Copyright (c) 2022 VYPE - All rights reserved)

KATY—Late during Tuesday’s Class 6A Region III quarterfinal against Tompkins, Dulles senior guard Peyton Overton addressed her teammates.

“We’ve been here before, y’all!” Overton bellowed. “We’ve been here before!”

The veteran team, with a roster of 10 seniors, certainly has. Adversity is no stranger to these Vikings. Trials are embraced as much as the triumphs.

And Tuesday was a definitive triumph.

Overton talked the talk and then strutted the walk, scoring six of her team-high 29 points in overtime to lead Dulles to a 64-59 win over Tompkins at the Merrell Center in a rematch of last year’s regional quarterfinal.

The Falcons, which ended their year 35-4, won that round. But the Vikings exacted revenge, and in doing so punched their ticket to the regional tournament for the first time since 2008-2009.

Dulles (27-6) plays Summer Creek at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Merrell Center in the regional semifinal.

“Most of us are seniors, so this is our last ride,” said Overton, who added a game-high 15 rebounds. “We want it even more. It was a game that was an exact repeat from last year, and that hurt so bad. It was tough last year. We didn’t want to go down in the third round again. We made it happen.”

The game was a back-and-forth hurrah, with Overton pacing Dulles and junior guard Macy Spencer (33 points) leading Tompkins.

Both players showed off terrific shooting and scoring skills. Spencer made nine two-point baskets, all nine of her free throw attempts, and two 3-pointers. Overton made four two-point baskets, nine of 10 free throws, and four of seven 3-point attempts.

“I was just attacking the gaps and involving my teammates as well,” said Overton, who entered Tuesday averaging 10.3 points this season. “As a team, we were seeing where they were coming from and just finding the open man.”

With senior guard Dai Dai Powell, the team’s second-leading scorer, having a rare off game offensively with three points, Overton was huge for the Vikings.

“Any one of these girls can have a lights-out night,” coach Christina Jamerson said. “For Peyton, tonight was her night. It’s awesome to see her step up. We know when someone may be off, someone else will step up. That’s what I’m so proud of about these girls. I love the fact that they step up for each other.”

Tompkins’ Bella Riggan put the Falcons up, 46-45, on an offensive putback with 2:20 left in regulation. Overton hit one of two free throws with 1:57 left to tie it up.

With 15.3 seconds left, Spencer found senior guard Brooklynn Nash wide open for a layup to put Tompkins ahead, 48-46. After a timeout, Dulles went the length of the floor.

A broken play ended with senior guard Nya Threatt delivering a quick, heads-up pass to a diving Alima Diop for the game-tying lay-in as time expired.

“We had a totally different play in mind,” said Threatt, who had 17 points, seven rebounds, and five steals. “The play was to try and get it to Pey, but it didn’t work out that way. So, we kind of just scrambled at the end, and we were able to make it count. I was just trying to get it to the open person. I saw Ali wide open.”

Dulles held off an overtime rampage from Spencer, who scored nine of Tompkins’ 11 points in the extra session. The Vikings got scoring in overtime from four players, whereas the Falcons had two players score in the OT.

“It’s easy for us to play together,” Threatt said. “We’ve all been playing together a long time now. We do a good job of keeping our composure and we’re able to get it.”

Free-throw shooting proved crucial down the stretch for the Vikings, who hit 12 of 13 in the four-minute overtime.

“We got a chance to keep fighting and we got a chance to prove ourselves,” Overton said. “That’s what we did.”

Overall, Dulles made 31 of 40 free throws. Tompkins made 14 of 18.

“I told them all the same thing,” said Jamerson, in her first season at the helm of Dulles. “Play aggressive, play smart, play together, play hard, play together, and play to win. And have fun.”

The Vikings did. And the reward is going somewhere they have not been in 13 years as a program.

“We want it so bad and we’re going to keep fighting,” Overton said. “That’s all we know.”