Battle in the paint

Dulles junior Jakiya Thompson (12) goes up for a layup against Jersey Village at the Delmar Fieldhouse in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 20.  

HOUSTON — The Dulles Lady Vikings girls basketball had been waiting for a perfect moment like Saturday.

Dulles has been perfect throughout the 2020-21 season, with a 23-0 mark entering Saturday's area playoff game.

The stage was perfect, Delmar Fieldhouse, arguably the biggest high school basketball gym in the greater Houston area.

The opponent was perfect, the No. 8 Jersey Village Lady Falcons. Saturday's contest was one of two Top-10 matchups along with No. 5 South Grand Prairie and No. 9 Allen.

And the ending was perfect; Dulles pulled away after a back-and-forth second half to secure the program's first trip to the regional quarterfinals since 2009. The final score was 75-68 in favor of Dulles.

The victory sends Dulles to the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. 

Dulles put the pressure on Jersey Village to force turnovers and get the Lady Falcons out of their offense's normal rhythm. The Lady Vikings' speed and conference in the press led to easy fast-break baskets.

But when the Lady Vikings failed to clamp down on a ball-handler, it led to an easy layup or a three-pointer from senior Briana Pequero.

Jersey Village held a slim one-point lead, 36-35, at halftime.

The Lady Falcons came out swinging, building a 43-39 lead. But Dulles answered, tying the game at 43 with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter.

Jersey Village would lead 53-50 heading into the fourth quarter.

Threatt opened the final eight minutes with a steal and layup to make a one-point game.

The tide turned toward the Lady Vikings. Jersey Village's Aerial Johnson fouled out, and three-straight offensive rebound and put-backs by Jakiya Thompson, Peyton Overton and Dai Dai Powell put Dulles up 58-57.

Pequero gave the Lady Falcons' life again with a three-pointer to put Jersey Village up 62-58. Thompson was there again with an offensive rebound to make it a one-point game with four minutes remaining.

Thompson scored her 18th point with a drive to put the Lady Vikings up 63-62. After a missed shot by Jersey Village, Thompson finished a fast break with a layup.

A drive by Victoria Moore opened Overton for a corner three to extend the Dulles lead to 68-62.

Pequero's basket pulled Jersey Village within four points at 70-66, but that would the closet that Lady Falcons would get. Dulles hit enough free throws to put away the game.

The Lady Vikings dribbled out the final seconds, and when the final horn sounded, coach Jay Simon was still on the bench with his head in his hands. The peak of the celebration came in the locker room, as the team's Twitter account showed in a video when Simon charged into the Lady Vikings' locker room tossing water and danced before a team huddle.

The Lady Vikings spread the scoring out with Jakiya Thompson accounting for 18 while Peyton Overton added 16, Nya Threatt had 15, Victoria Moore accounted for 12 and Dai Dai Powell scored 11 points.

Powell did work in the paint with nine rebounds and three blocks, while Overton had eight. Moore had six assists while Threatt added five steals.

Dulles (24-0) will next play Katy Tompkins (19-3) in the Region III-6A quarterfinals.

Follow Fort Bend Herald sports editor Ryan Dunsmore on Twitter at @duns_more for game updates. Follow the Herald sports department on Twitter at @fbheraldsports, Facebook and Instagram at Fort Bend Herald Sports. 

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