LAMAR -- Without starting point guard and leading scorer Kori Sanders because of injury, Lamar senior guard Shae Taylor knew her role would expand Wednesday night.
She was more than up to the task at Warrior Arena.
Taylor returned to an old role for her as the primary ball handler and helped guide the Lady Warriors with 10 points and six assists. Her effort played a key role in Lamar upsetting four-time defending 2A state champion Melbourne 47-43 in a first-round matchup at the Class 3A state tournament.
"I just knew without Kori out there I needed to step up and get it done," Taylor said. "It's either win or go home, and we didn't want to go home. There were too many fans cheering here for us to let them down. It's been two years since I played point guard, so it was nerve-wracking. But it's nothing I haven't done before."
With the game was on the line in the fourth quarter, that's when Taylor stepped up most for the Lady Warriors. She scored twice on free throws before assisting on the next three baskets to give Lamar a 46-38 lead late.
Lamar, the Class 3A runner-up last season, received big nights from Taylor, Karley Williams (12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals) and Madison Davidson (10 points and 8 rebounds).
"Those kids are special," Lamar Coach Brandon Schluterman said. "We have some seniors that don't want their season to end. We were uncomfortable the whole night, but they did what we had to do to win."
Melbourne jumped out to a 9-7 lead after the first quarter, but Lamar used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to help take an 18-15 advantage at halftime. Melbourne used a 10-0 stretch in the third quarter to pull within 30-27 entering the fourth quarter.
The Lady Warriors had six scorers to help seal the game with Williams, Davidson, Taylor, Emma Bailey, Bailee Cowell and Morgan Cochran all contributing.
"We have been balanced all year long," Schluterman said. "We have had four or five kids in double figures with our sixth man sometimes as our leading scorer. Even though we did lose a great player, we have a lot left. They are adjusting to the new roles and made it happen."
Melbourne was guided by a game-high 14 points from Kaylee Love and 12 more points from Ashtyn Kimble.
Lamar is hosting the state tournament with heavy hearts because of the death earlier this year of Ashlynn Barnes, who was on the basketball team and a track standout. Schluterman credits his team with battling adversity all year.
"For only losing four games this year, it has been a roller coaster," Schluterman said. "Those kids want to go out on the right note. We don't know what's going to happen next round, but tonight was special."
Episcopal Collegiate 51, Manila 32
With the help of a 16-0 run in the second quarter, the Lady Wildcats pulled away for a first-round victory.
Episcopal Collegiate was led by Cydney Sanders (17 points), Laney Marsh (12 points) and Riley Brady (12 points). Manila was guided by 14 points from Madison Hitchcock and 11 points from Jenna Larose.
Manila (20-13) jumped out to a 13-10 edge by scoring the final five points of the game. But Episcopal (30-4) Collegiate took control in the second quarter and held a 30-17 lead at halftime.
Harding Academy 74, Mountain View 43
The Wildcats used a strong second half to break open a close game behind big efforts from Claire Citty (23 points), McKenney Sheffield (17 points) and Jama Akpanudo (15 points).
Mountain View (21-13) was led by a team-high 20 points from Kaitlyn McCarn and 11 points from Emma Akins.
Harding Academy (26-7) held a 28-19 halftime lead. Mountain View then found itself down 52-34 after Harding Academy put together a 26-point third quarter.