COLEMAN — Every time Springer post Audrey White received the ball, there was a gang of maroon waiting for her.

So, up stepped Caden Ingram to pick up the offensive slack. The sophomore scored a game-high 17 points, and the Cardinals leaned on their defense late in a 44-32 win over Coleman in the Class B regional playoffs on Thursday.

Parked in the middle of Coleman’s zone, White, Springer’s leading scorer, was blanketed by defenders at every opportunity. Despite Coleman’s efforts, the senior still managed 16 points, including nine in the first half when Springer’s offense was at its best.

“I really didn’t know they knew anything about me,” White said, surprised at the pressure from the Coleman defense. “I was just worried about focusing on my game.”

With White attracting so much attention, Ingram was the benificiary, scoring 10 points before halftime to give the Cardinals a 24-13 lead they wouldn’t give up.

“In the second half, they had her tied up,” Springer coach Robert Bradley said about the defense on White. “They had her tied up in the first half, too.”

Kami Sharp paced Coleman with 10 points. Brittany White added seven points and Alexis Farley had four for the Cardinals (17-10), who will face the loser of Thursday’s Erick/Big Pasture game at 6:30 today in the regional consolation semifinals at Elgin High School.

The White tandem was able to find Ingram in good spots throughout the game, particularly for easy baskets in the second half.

Every time Coleman crept closer to single digits, Springer responded. The host team had a 6-2 run with under six minutes to play to Springer’s lead to eight, but Brittany White found Ingram underneath the basket unguarded on an inbounds play to push the Cardinals’ lead back to double digits.

“Our passing and our shooting, we have to be smarter about it if we’re going to make it,” Audrey White said.

Coleman went cold from the line late in the fourth quarter, converting only 1-of-4 in the final three minutes. The Wildcats scored 11 of their 19 second-half points from the stripe, as the Cardinals’ defense settled in.

Springer’s offense led the the way early with 17 points in the first quarter, but when the scoring dried up, Audrey White and Ingram controled the boards and Brittany White cut off the passing lanes.

The formula allowed Springer to play another day.

“The girls stepped up today,” Bradley said. “Playing an afternoon game is kinda out of your zone, driving over here and playing at 1:30 ... they played well on the other team’s home court.

“That’s a big step for them to come over here and win.”

Erik K. Horne