ROBINSON -- Leia Beattie had a game-high 29 points, along with eight rebounds and six steals, as top-ranked Midland Classical is just one win away from a three-peat after dismantling Marble Falls Faith Academy 43-19 in the TAPPS 3A girls state semifinal, Thursday afternoon at Robinson High School.
For the fourth consecutive year, MCA will meet Beaumont Legacy Christian for the state title. MCA came up short in 2017, but claimed a 72-47 win a year ago after a 59-53 victory in 2018.
Beaumont Legacy Christian (17-8) advanced with a 45-35 victory over The Woodlands Legacy Prep.
The matchup is slated for a 4 p.m. tipoff today at West High School in West.
MCA never trailed in the contest, though Marble Falls Faith (22-5) and the second-ranked team, did manage to forge an 8-8 deadlock early in the second period.
A 7-0 MCA run quickly regained control, with the Lady Knights taking an 18-13 lead into intermission.
A 16-4 third period removed any doubt that head coach Carla Cunneen would be taking her team to another championship contest.
Jenny Coco chipped in with 10 points along with a team-leading 12 rebounds, eight of those coming at the offensive end.
"Our game plan was to control the controllables," Cunneen said. "We played very good defense. And we got good shots but they were not falling. I credit my team with not getting frustrated by that, and playing sound fundamental defense. We took care of the basketball.”
“And I am so happy for our seniors," she added, referencing the trio of Beattie, Coco and Kori Kirk, the latter having 27 points and six steals in the quarterfinal victory.
Beattie has posted tremendous numbers in back-to-back playoff contests, having 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the quarterfinal win over Round Rock Christian.
The two-time defending state champs will be seeking their sixth state TAPPS title -- in eight Final Four appearances. MCA also won the championship in 2014, 2008 and 2005 in addition to the last two titles.
The Lady Knights are riding a 14-game winning streak. And after a five-point win over Midland Christian on Dec. 20, MCA began an incredible 10-game stretch to finish the regular season, where the average score was 71.4-18.2 ppg. with the smallest margin of victory being 41 points and allowing 28 or fewer points per game during that time.
MCA's dominance continued into the playoffs, cruising to a 63-23 defeat of Waco Live Oak in the area round before ousting Round Rock Christian Academy, 66-32, in the quarterfinals.
NO. 1 MIDLAND CLASSICAL 43, NO. 2 MARBLE HILLS FAITH ACADEMY 19
MCA (28-4) -- Leia Beattie 29, Jenny Coco 10, Kenna Bayley 2, Molly Coco 2
Faith Academy (22-5) -- Christian Wilcox 12, Bailey Freeman 3, Juliette McCannon 2, Hannidy Shipley 2
Marble Falls Faith 3 10 4 2 --19
Midland Classical 8 10 16 9 --43
Free throws -- MCA 6-9, MFFA 4-10. 3-point goals -- MCA 4 (Beattie 4). Total fouls -- MCA 13, MFFA 14. Fouled out -- None.
Next: -- MCA vs. Beaumont Legacy Christian (17-8), state title game, 4 p.m. Friday, West High School in West.