This is decision week for Grapevine’s girls basketball program. If the Lady Mustangs (12-10, 4-5) are going to make a charge and grab a District 6-5A playoff berth, these are must wins.
It started Tuesday at district co-leader Hurst L.D. Bell and continues Friday with a home match against Colleyville Heritage. Win them both and the fortunes are changed for the best. Split and it keeps Grapevine definitely in the race. Lose both and it’s a matter of playing out the remainder of the season.
“All we’ve been talking about is trying to keep them focused on the next game and then the next game after that,” head coach Steve Ganninger said. “We have talked with them about big picture but that really isn’t what it comes down. The only thing can do is control what we do.”
But the Lady Mustangs’ offense appears to be peaking at the right time. Grapevine is averaging 57.5 points per game, but the scoring distribution has been solid between Michelle Kotlik (9.3 ppg), Mandi Routon (11.0) and Nicole Taake (9.3).
What’s been a pleasant surprise has been the scoring burst from Abby Sandy (6.5). Sandy has averaged a little more than seven points in the last three games, including a season-high 14 against Euless Trinity on Jan. 10.
“It’s been a trend that we’re finding,” Ganninger said. “Usually, it’s the same three players, but Abby is becoming that fourth for us like she was last year. She’s a great shooter, and she’s embraced that.”
If it’s free, take it
The Lady Mustangs have emerged as a really solid free throw-shooting team. It’s arguably been the one element that has helped them stay in games or pull some out. They are shooting 70 percent at the line this year.
Taake is shooting 77 percent, Sandy is at 70, Kotlik is at 89, Abby Ingram is at 70 and Routon is at 80 percent. That’s called doing the little things.
“They have a good approach and are very confident,” Ganninger said.
Colleyville Heritage update
Head coach Dianna Sager will be the first to admit that the Lady Panthers (17-11, 6-3 in 6-5A) just have matchup problems against L.D. Bell. They really were never in the 67-39 loss to the Lady Raiders.
The loss left them in fourth place as they faced a pivotal week. They played host to Euless Trinity – a team they are chasing – and travel to Grapevine, a team that is chasing them.
Starting this week, Bell set the pace at 8-1, while Trinity and Irving MacArthur are tied for second at 7-2.
It’s not a lot of fun to be in the sandwich position, because losing ground can be costly, but gaining ground can be so valuable. What’s odd is that Colleyville Heritage is just as close to first place as it is to fifth, two games.
“We have to win both games,” Sager said. “Against Bell, the people who hurt us in the first game we held to single digits. They just beat us in transition. They were just better than us.”
Of course, the last time Colleyville Heritage played Trinity, the Lady Panthers shot 17 percent in a loss. Recent practices were concentrated on shooting.