COLLEYVILLE -- Late in the second quarter, Colleyville Heritage girls basketball coach Dianna Sager took a moment during a break in play to chat with a referee.
"I told you this was going to be a good game," she said, laughing.
Her prediction rang true in Friday's District 6-5A game against Hurst L.D. Bell that needed overtime for Heritage (12-7, 3-0) to claim a 61-56 victory. It's the third consecutive meeting between the teams decided by fewer than five points.
"It was a physically exhausting game -- mentally and physically exhausting," Sager said. "I think both sides played very tough the whole time."
Bell's defense dictated the pace from the start, pressing Heritage man to man. Turnovers by both teams created a transition-heavy game that looked more like a track meet than a basketball game.
Bell forward Sheridan Pilcher hit two free throws to give her team a 51-49 lead with 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Coming out of a timeout, Heritage went to 6-foot-2 post Artavia Ford, who tied the game at 51 with a turnaround hook to send two exhausted teams into overtime.
The extra period saw most of the bounces go Heritage's way. The Panthers made six free throws and didn't let Bell (13-2, 1-1) regain the lead.
Heritage posts Caroline Gonzalez and Ford combined to score 25 points. Bell's Cierra Johnson had a game-high 20 points.
Gonzalez, one of six Heritage seniors, hit three of the decisive free throws.
"She's really good at the line and we wanted her to have the ball in her hands," Sager said.
After Heritage finished second in 6-5A just ahead of Bell last season, Sager said her seniors knew the game was important for playoff seeding.
"I'm really proud of the way the kids played," she said.
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