In previous seasons, the Grapevine Lady Mustangs basketball players prided themselves on their half-court offensive approach.
Possessions were valued. Working for the good shot was the goal. But toward the end of the 2012-2013 season, head coach Steve Ganninger decided to take the reins off his team and go to an open floor game.
So when he and his staff further evaluated the experiment in the offseason, he decided that was the way to go for all of 2013-2014. He wanted to take advantage of team flourishing with guards.
The results have been what he wants. Grapevine (7-4, 1-1 in District 6-5A) is pushing the ball up the floor and giving the likes of Mandi Routon, Nicole Taake and Michelle Kotlik the chance to put the ball up whenever and wherever.
The trio is combining to score 31 points per game. Taake and Routon are averaging 11.2 points, while Kotlik is averaging 8.5.
“The pace just suits my players,” Ganninger said. “For me it was a tough thing because I’ve always been about getting the good shot. But I realized taking the reins off my players was going to be a good thing. We were getting a little too stagnant toward the end of last year so this was the way to go.”
The other factor was that Grapevine really doesn’t have a true post presence. When a team is missing that, then it’s going to be a real challenge trying to establish anything in the block. The transition game really tries to eliminate the low post presence.
But this was going to be a challenging week for the Lady Mustangs. They played two of the district favorites in Hurst L.D. Bell Monday and at Colleyville Heritage on Friday. As improved as this team is, trying to find a way to collect a split would really be a huge lift.
Grapevine has really struggled against its GCISD rival, dropping 21 of the last 24 meetings. But this group may have the best chance to knock off the Lady Panthers.
“As a coach, you always think you have a chance to win,” Ganninger said. “This is not one of those games you have to hype it up. You just have to calm them down and get them to play their game. I love the way they’re playing.”
When the Lady Mustangs lost the four games of the Ennis tournament Dec. 5-7 due to bad-weather cancelation, Ganninger could not find a way to pick up two non-district games. So instead of playing 34 games, Grapevine will only play 28.
“We were going to try and play Coppell on that Friday after the ice storm hit,” Ganninger said. “But that didn’t work and that was really our only chance to do something.”
The UIL made a new scheduling rule for basketball coaches. If they only played tournaments, then they could only schedule two extra non-district games.
Colleyville Heritage update
The Lady Panthers (9-7, 1-1) suffered a tough 46-33 loss to likely District 6-5A favorite Hurst L.D. Bell on Friday. They shot only 21 percent from the field.
It’s another big week for Colleyville Heritage as it played Euless Trinity on Monday and then plays host to Grapevine on Friday.
Head coach Dianna Sager said her team worked on a new offense over the weekend that she hopes will create more fluid movement and putting her players in different positions.