The Arlington Bowie girls have played eight games against state-ranked Class 5A and 4A opponents this season. But the Volunteers toughest opponent hasnt appeared on their schedule.Thats because they scrimmage the Bowie boys team in practice. It gives us better competition, coach Kelly Carruthers said. [The boys] can jump out of the gym, and we have to focus more on boxing out. Weve got to box out. Weve got to make sure we secure the rebound. We have to think about it a little bit more.The strategy, which Carruthers said she has used the past couple of seasons, appears to be working. Bowies girls (18-2, 6-0 District 3-5A) are ranked sixth in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll. The Vols lost to top-ranked Duncanville in November and to third-ranked Pflugerville last month in the Mansfield Spring Creek BBQ Invitational. But Bowie has come out on the high end of tough matchups against Southlake Carroll, Arlington Seguin, Canyon, Aledo and Mansfield Timberview.Im OK with how were playing right now, Carruthers said. Theyve handled [the schedule] exceptionally well. Weve been in the hole for a lot of these games.Bowies 55-42 win Tuesday over Arlington Lamar saw the Vols leading by two at halftime before pulling away. Carruthers said coming out of a winter break tournament usually presents the challenge of staying consistent while also getting back to full strength, injury-wise. Bowie is getting there.Were not 100 percent yet, but we will be within the next couple weeks, Carruthers said. And thats exactly where we want to be.Carroll in familiar spotSouthlake Carroll (19-4, 6-0 District 4-5A) is coming off post-holiday wins over Keller and Keller Fossil Ridge.The Dragons, who host Haltom (8-9, 3-3) on Friday, are ranked ninth in the TABC poll. The defending district champions are finally getting their shots to fall. Carroll shot 22 percent from the field in a 45-34 win over Keller last Friday but responded by making 55 percent Tuesday in beating Fossil Ridge 70-38.They executed extremely well, Carroll coach Teri Morrison said of her team. Were starting to find a little more of a groove.Morrison said the goal coming out of the break was to create more high-percentage shots. Carroll did that against Keller but simply didnt make them. The Dragons did Tuesday.The game against Ridge, we were just on fire, Morrison said. Carroll, like other area teams, is back to a more normal schedule with school resuming this week. The Dragons had a five-day break (as required by the UIL) before playing in the M.T. Rice Tournament Dec. 26-28 in Waco.Morrison, who came to Carroll in 2009 after coaching Waco Midway to the Class 4A state title, said her teams at Carroll have always handled the layoff well, finding ways to work out on their own.Their commitment level outside the lines has always been pretty good for me, Morrison said.Looking for a leaderTammy Lusingers Mansfield Summit program has been there. The Jaguars reached the region semifinals last year and won the Class 4A state title in 2012. This year theyve positioned themselves for another playoff bid, entering Friday nights home game against Ennis at 5-1 in District 15-4A play.But Lusinger is still in search of a leader.We need someone stepping up, Lusinger said, being that person when were flat to get everybody going.Summit trailed Red Oak 15-2 on Tuesday night before coming back and winning 44-38. Lusinger was happy with the win, especially considering the deficit her team opened with, she said. But after balancing the bad with good, Lusinger is looking for a more even-keeled pace from her 14-7 squad. Right now, the biggest thing Im concerned with is our consistency, Lusinger said. You would think I would have some leaders out of seven [seniors].
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST