Colleyville Heritage head girls basketball coach Dianna Sager has always been one to offer a valuable team bonding experience.
Traditionally, Sager uses the first weekend of December to take her team on a road-trip for a tournament. The Lady Panthers always play in Katy.
So not only did Colleyville Heritage pick the perfect time to get out of North Texas because of the weather, the experience yielded a strong performance in the tournament.
Colleyville Heritage went 4-1 and finished third. There were wins over Langham Creek, Aldine Davide, Klein Collins and Jersey Village. The Lady Panthers (8-6) lost to Klein Forest in the tournament semifinals. Guard Victoria Bratcher and senior post Artavia Ford were named to the all-tournament team.
“Really, it’s good for the team to eat, sleep, travel and be with people for a weekend to get to know them,” Sager said. “You have people on my team who are living in different parts of town, so to see them really grow together is a credit to them just making the most of this opportunity.”
The team flew down the great Houston area. Funds raised for travel came from the season-opening tournament held at Colleyville Heritage. Aside from the strong finish, the experience was filled with the little things including players names and replays being shown on a huge video screen at the Leonard Memorial Center.
The Jersey Village game was unreal. Colleyville Heritage won the game, 77-36, shot 92 percent – that’s not a misprint – from the field and didn’t miss a shot in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers led 29-7 after the first quarter.
“Really, this was the most complete game I’ve ever been around,” Sager said. “It was pretty stunning to watch.”
Ford’s road back
Ford, who was suspended from the team two weeks ago, appears to have made the most of her second chance.
Sager didn’t start her in the Dec. 3 61-56 loss to Carroll. However, Ford did play and scored 20 points. In the Katy tournament, she averaged 20 points and nearly 20 rebounds in each game. Perhaps the time away from the team gave her a new sense of appreciation for the game.
“She’s still working her way back,” Sager said. “I told the kids when she came back that she’s a big part of what we do offensively. But so far, she’s done everything that we’ve asked her to do. She’s been encouraging and volunteering to do things.
“She’s here to prove a point. She’s playing really well right now and wants to take more ownership of this team.”
Colleyville Heritage was slated to open District 6-5A play on Tuesday against Carrollton R.L. Turner and plays at Hurst L.D. Bell on Friday.
The Lady Mustangs (7-3) lost several games at the Ennis Tournament over the weekend. They dropped their only game last week to Weatherford, 62-59. Grapevine trailed, 50-33, going into the fourth quarter before making a charge. They won the quarter, 26-12. They open District 6-5A play Tuesday at Irving MacArthur and return home to play Irving Nimitz on Friday.
"We had a rough night shooting the ball until the 4th,'' coach Steve Ganninger said. "Our press started generating some TO's and we started hitting some shots. Michelle Kotlik hit four 3's in the fourth and Abby Ingram added two more 3's to help cut the lead to three by the end.''
Kotlik ended up with 18 points, while Nicole Taake had 19 points and went 9-for-9 on free throws.
Mandi Routon has been Grapevine's most consistent player thus far and is leading the teams in points, assists, offensive reb. and steals. "She's also done a tremendous job running the point guard position, leading us on the floor, distributing the ball, not turning it over and being a great leader,'' Ganninger. "She has done a great job this year not only leading with her words but with the intensity she plays with everyday in practice and games. ''
Ganninger said he will not be able to make up any of the Ennis tournament since district play has started and the Lady Mustangs play in the Mansfield Tournament over Christmas.