The Colleyville Heritage girls basketball team will resume District 6-5A play Friday with a daunting challenge against Irving MacArthur.
The Lady Panthers (13-10, 2-2) are the reigning district champions and are sitting in fourth place behind Hurst L.D. Bell, Euless Trinity and MacArthur.
Colleyville Heritage is coming out of solid showing in Sandra Meadows Classic in Duncanville last weekend, where it went 3-2. The squad picked up victories over Troy (Calif.), Denton Ryan and Houston Westside. They lost to Little Rock (Ark.) Hall and San Antonio Brennan.
But the tournament may have revealed a different side from senior post Artavia Ford, who averaged 17 points in the five games. Ford was suspended from the team back in late November for a violation of team rules. Since then, she’s played at a different level. Ford was named to the all-tournament team.
“She was so tired, but she also played hard for longer periods of time than I’ve seen from her before,” coach Dianna Sager said. “Tav went against some physical players who were just as big, if not bigger. When you’re asking someone to get rebounds, block out and go one-on-one, that’s asking a lot. I don’t think people understand how tough that is in the post. I’m very proud how she kept everything under control.”
Tired but ready
The Lady Panthers were expected to take Monday off because of the tournament and return to practice on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday are prep days for MacArthur.
Sager said she can go three deep on her bench with junior varsity call-up Morgan Newton. Newton didn’t play over the weekend because of UIL rules about call-ups playing JV tournaments. However, Sager said Newton’s presence should help this team and help the growth of freshman point guard Caitlyn Foster.
“What I liked about Caitlyn is that she really stepped up in Duncanville,” Sager said. “That’s a huge tournament because you have a lot of college coaches there and a lot of people there. She was great.”
The Lady Mustangs (9-8, 1-3 in District 6-5A) didn’t lose any ground in terms of their overall record following their performance in the Mansfield Spring Creek Barbeque Invitational.
Grapevine went 2-2 with losses to Mansfield Summit and Fort Worth Trimble Tech and wins over Kennedale and Mansfield. Mandi Routon scored 16 and 20 points in the wins. District play resumes Friday at Irving.
And despite the open floor game head coach Steve Ganninger has preached, the last couple of weeks have served as a learning tool to probably slow down the pace. Ganninger said he probably will play a little more half-court defense.
“We didn’t press very much in the tournament because I wanted to save our legs,” Ganninger said. “But we’re probably going to mix it up more and change our pace.”
However, Friday at Irving presents a little sense of urgency. A win keeps the season playoff race in perspective. A loss really hurts.
“The first thing we discussed when the Mansfield tournament ended was not to take this game for granted,” Ganninger said. “Irving is a tough group and we have to understand that we have to be ready. There is some pressure, but that’s what the district race is all about.”